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Recap: Blues , Maple Leafs
Date: January 06, 2011 7:00 PM EDT
  

TORONTO (AP) - Mikhail Grabovski made a move so stunning, the Toronto Maple Leafs nearly forgot that they didn't really deserve to be in a shootout anyway.

Grabovski brought his teammates and the fans to their feet on Thursday night when he pulled a complete spin-o-rama while cutting across the top of the crease before beating St. Louis goalie Ty Conklin.

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That helped Toronto salvage a 6-5 victory over the Blues despite blowing a three-goal lead in the third period.

Grabovski is 3 for 5 in career shootout attempts and has several moves that he uses. He scored a shootout goal on a 180-degree spin play last month in Washington and continues to amaze his teammates.

``Again, he's crazy,' center Tim Brent said. ``He's unbelievable. That'll be highlight of the night I'm sure, and it should be. I've never seen it. He hasn't done it in practice and it takes a lot of guts to do that stuff. He's a pretty skilled guy.'

Tyler Bozak scored the shootout winner for the Maple Leafs, who bounced back from blowing a three-goal lead.

Bozak beat Conklin with a wrist shot in the shootout, but that didn't compare to the move by Grabovski. Kris Versteeg also scored in the tiebreaker for Toronto.

Bozak netted the winner with a conventional move, unlike Grabovski's theatrics.

``I'm way too nervous to do stuff like that in a shootout,' Bozak said.

The Maple Leafs seemed to be in control when Phil Kessel's second goal of the game 1:15 into the third period made it 5-2.

But the Blues clawed back with a strange goal by Brad Winchester that was confirmed by video review. Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson was pushed into the net along with the puck.

Eric Brewer's point shot found an opening at 7:40 to make it 5-4, and Matt D'Agostini completed the comeback at 13:21 when he was sent in alone and scored with a backhand deke.

``It was important for us to get a win, but we need to be better,' Kessel said. ``We had a 5-2 lead and we didn't play well there. We need to bear down more and get our game in shape.'

Grabovski, Versteeg and Colby Armstrong also scored in regulation for the Maple Leafs, who will start a four-game road trip in Atlanta on Friday night.

Alex Steen and David Backes had the other goals for St. Louis.

``If a banana peel's on the ice you tend to step on it,' Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. ``We couldn't stop it. After the third goal, we had a TV timeout to talk about things. Then the next goal, I called a timeout and talked about not moving our feet.

``Sometimes you let it out and you can't get it back in.'

Gustavsson, who had lost five of six starts, watched as third-string goalie James Reimer earned back-to-back starts this week in place of the injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Gustavsson's biggest play of the night was covering a loose puck with his blocker late in the second period when it was unclear if Jay McClement's shot crossed the goal line. The save helped Toronto maintain its two-goal lead.

``In the end, it was enough,' Gustavsson said. ``We showed in the shootout that we have some self-confidence there and some great moves.'

Jaroslav Halak started in goal for St. Louis, but was pulled for only the second time this season after surrendering four goals on 19 shots.

He wasn't helped much by his defense that appeared vulnerable to Toronto's forechecking during the second period. Clarke MacArthur worked the puck out to Grabovski for his goal at 8:19 before Armstrong took a hit while setting up Versteeg at 10:46.

Halak's night ended after Kessel intercepted a pass and came in alone, beating the goalie with a wrist shot at 12:15.

``(It was) just a pause for the team mostly,' Blues coach Davis Payne said. ``It's a situation there where we can give Conklin a chance to see if he can't stop the tide and give our a guys a chance to regroup their thoughts.'

Toronto needed just 15 seconds to take a 1-0 lead. The puck was sent into the Blues zone after the opening faceoff, and Versteeg's shot deflected off Armstrong and over Halak.

Steen, a former Maple Leafs player, quickly responded at 3:52. He beat Gustavsson with a low shot from the side of the net.

A turnover gave St. Louis the lead before the end of the period. D'Agostini stole the puck and got off a shot before Backes whacked in the rebound at 9:46.

NOTES: D Brett Lebda replaced Carl Gunnarsson in the Toronto lineup. ... Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo both played their first game in Toronto since being traded by the Maple Leafs to the Blues in November 2008. ... It was the 3,000th home game in Maple Leafs history.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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