|Edmonton's Robert Nilsson and Toronto's Tomas Kaberle chase the puck along the Rexall Place boards November 13, 2008. (Photo by Andy Devlin/EOHC)|
Although the Oilers started strong in the first period with Sam Gagner scoring the game's opening goal, the Maple Leafs eventually posted three powerplay goals enroute to a 5-2 win at Rexall Place Thursday night. Ethan Moreau tallied Edmonton's second goal while Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers registered his first NHL loss in his first home game.
The Oilers and Leafs swept end to end in the six minutes leading up to the first two powerplays of the game, both benefiting the Oilers.
Although Toronto 'tender Vesa Toskala stopped Edmonton's lone shot on the first powerplay, Sam Gagner ensured the Leafs paid the price for their second penalty. With just over seven minutes left in the frame and Ryan Hollweg locked in the box, Gagner snapped up Denis Grebeshkov's rebound and fired it back into the net to score his first goal of the season and give the Oilers a 1-0 lead.
The powerplays helped the Oilers take a 13-6 shot lead, but a late hooking penalty to Grebeshkov ensured the club would start the second period up a goal but down a man.
Grebeshkov spent 1:45 alone in the box until Jason Strudwick earned a high-sticking minor, offering the Leafs a 15-second five-on-three. Like the Oilers in the first period, the Leafs were unsuccessful in their first powerplay but made up for it in their second. With 21 seconds left in Strudwick's penalty, Tomas Kaberle slapped the puck past Deslauriers to tie things up for Toronto.
Less than 30 seconds after the goal, a kneeing penalty to Gagner put the Oilers back on the penalty kill. Toronto matched Edmonton's shot-count on the man-advantage and, thanks to lucky shot #13, assumed their first lead of the game. Kaberle teed up for a similar shot from the blue line, but Nikolai Kulemin caught a piece of the puck and deflected it into the Oilers net to put the Leafs up 2-1 at 4:32 of the second.
But the visiting lead wouldn't last long. At 7:24, Captain Ethan Moreau put the Oilers back on even terms in shots and goals when his persistent plugging forced the puck past Toskala and tied the game at two.
With five minutes left in the frame, Pavel Kubina took a tripping penalty and the Oilers benefited from their third powerplay. Unfortunately for the hometown fans, the club was unable to tally a second man-advantage marker and upon the return of five-on-five, Toronto's Nik Antropov notched a go-ahead goal with a close left-wing snap shot to give the Leafs a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
Five minutes into the third, Ian White doubled Toronto's lead. After Jason Blake capitalized on a turnaround in the Oilers zone, he hit White with a centering pass that the defencemen converted into his second goal of the season and a 4-2 Leafs lead.
Blake followed up his assist with an interference penalty in the final 10 minutes of regulation, but the Oilers were unable to get back within one and promptly went on the penalty kill when Andrew Cogliano earned two minutes for slashing.
Cogliano wouldn't sit out for long. 35 seconds into the powerplay, Blake set Mikhail Grabovski up for his eighth of the year and Toronto's third powerplay goal in four opportunities.
The three-goal deficit proved too much for Edmonton and Toronto held on for a 5-2 victory Thursday night.