Hagman leads Maple Leafs to wild win over Devils

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) — Martin Brodeur faced a record
number of shots prior to the shootout. But it was a sneaky one
by Niklas Hagman that got the Toronto Maple Leafs a victory.

Hagman scored the decisive goal in the fourth round of the
shootout Wednesday, leading the Maple Leafs to a 6-5 triumph
over the New Jersey Devils.

Matt Stajan tallied twice in regulation while Alex Steen, Jamal
Mayers and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for the Maple Leafs,
who went 3-for-4 on the power play.

“It was a crazy game tonight,” Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle
said. “We bounced back, played hard. We scored three on the
power play, which is big for us. Overall, I thought they
deserved the two points.”

“It’s shooting the puck, finding the right guys, spreading it
around,” said Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, whose team has
scored eight man-advantage goals in its last four games. “We
don’t always use the same people. Keep it fresh so it’s a
little bit more competitive and maybe guys won’t think they’re
automatically going to go on the ice on the power play.”

David Clarkson, Dainius Zubrus, captain Jamie Langenbrunner and
defenseman Colin White netted goals and blue-liner Andy Greene
collected three assists for New Jersey, which has lost three in
a row (0-1-2).

“We didn’t come out after the first (period) ready to play,”
Greene said. “They took it to us, and in the second, they kind
of controlled the game from there. We got back in it late and
obviously couldn’t seal it. … We didn’t play well the whole
game and we still had a chance at the end to come out with two
points. We just got outworked tonight, and we’ve got to learn
from it.”

“They outplayed us a bit,” Brodeur said. “We got a point out of
it. It is what it is. We’ll work on whatever we need to work

Brodeur faced a career-high 48 shots prior to the shootout, one
more than the Florida Panthers recorded against him on April 10,

“We generated a lot of chances, and getting five goals on Marty
Brodeur, that should be pretty mind-lifting,” Hagman said. “We
knew that if we want to score goals, you have to shoot a lot of
pucks. We tried to throw everything at the net.”

A four-time Vezina Trophy winner, Brodeur turned aside 43 shots
in regulation but did not face any in overtime as the Devils
recorded six – including five during a full two-minute power
play – but were unable to get one past Vesa Toskala.

Patrik Elias gave New Jersey the edge in the second round of the
shootout, but Kaberle slid the puck between the pads of Brodeur
in the third round to even things. After Toskala denied Brian
Gionta’s wrist shot, Hagman had the chance to put Toronto ahead.

Halfway down the ice, Hagman moved the puck to his backhand and
carried it in before stuffing it past a shocked Brodeur.

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“He took a pretty good shot,” Brodeur said. “It was on his
backhand and he just kind of waited me out and he shot it
through me. It was pretty hard.”

“That’s got to be one of my favorite penalty-shot goals I’ve
seen,” Stajan said.

As a result of the move, Hagman sprayed ice on Brodeur’s mask,
something he insisted was unintentional.

“I didn’t try to put snow on his face. That’s why I felt a
little bad,” Hagman said. “I didn’t want to celebrate it too
much and be cocky. He gave me the look and I decided to just
skate back to the bench.”

Toskala made it stand, stopping Langenbrunner’s wrister to
secure the win for the Maple Leafs, who improved to 3-1-1 on the

New Jersey, which swept the four-game season series in 2007-08,
appeared on its way to winning this one as Clarkson and Zubrus
scored within a span of 4 minutes, 32 seconds early in the
opening period. But Toronto stormed back with three goals in
less than 3 1/2 minutes in the first half of the second session
to move ahead.

After getting the Maple Leafs on the board at 4:13, Stajan
forged a 2-2 tie 78 seconds later with a power-play goal.
Kaberle unleashed a rising shot from above the slot, and Stajan
deflected it into the net from the doorstep for his second of
the night.

“We want to keep it simple, especially in their zone,” Kaberle
said. “Some of the shots are not perfect. You never know what
happens when you take it to the net. We get a couple of bodies
in there, you get bad rebounds and it counts, too.”

The Devils argued Stajan’s stick was above the crossbar, but
after video review, the goal stood.

Steen put Toronto in front at 7:31, when he tipped John
Mitchell’s pass past Brodeur during a man advantage.

New Jersey regained the lead before the period ended, however,
as Langenbrunner beat Toskala with a wrister from the top of the
right faceoff circle at 9:14 and White fired a slap shot from
the right point past the Finnish goaltender with 6:18 remaining.

Mayers knotted the contest at 9:15 of the third, poking in a
loose puck from the doorstep, and Ponikarovsky beat Brodeur with
a wrister from the left circle during a power play with 9:35
left, giving the Maple Leafs a 5-4 edge.

But Parise extended his goal-scoring streak to five games and
earned New Jersey a point by burying the rebound of defenseman
Paul Martin’s slapper with 8:43 to go for a 5-5 tie.

Toskala turned aside 26 shots for Toronto.

“(Goaltending coach) Corey Hirsch gave him a game plan and he
just practiced it and said he felt comfortable,” Wilson said of
Toskala. “I’m glad that he was rewarded with a win in spite of
a tough night.”