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Kubina nets OT winner to lift Maple Leafs past Thrashers

TORONTO (Ticker) -- Pavel Kubina scored a power-play goal 33

seconds into overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3

victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday.

Rookie Nikolai Kulemin, Lee Stempniak and Jason Blake scored for

the Maple Leafs, who snapped their three-game losing streak.

Curtis Joseph stopped 29 shots en route to his first victory of

the season and 450th career.

"It was an entertaining game and the guys were happy for me that

I got my first win and it feels really good to contribute,"

Joseph said. "I haven't played a lot and I've had to find that

mental edge where you've got to be sharp no matter what and I

think I had a little of that tonight.

"You learn to battle and summon up all of the experience you've

had in the past and we were able to win the game. I felt very

focused tonight."

Bryan Little and Jim Slater tallied for the Thrashers before

Colby Armstrong netted a power-play goal to forge a 3-3 tie with

6:43 left in the third period.

"I thought Joseph played well the whole game and made some

timely saves for them," Atlanta coach John Anderson said. "We

got away from our gameplan in the second period and allowed them

to come back. We battled hard to tie it late but couldn't come

away with the win."

Kubina notched his eighth goal of the season when he fired a

wrist shot from the high slot that beat Johan Hedberg and sent

the Maple Leafs to a win in the first contest of a four-game


Little and Slater scored within a span of 1:58 early in the

first to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead, but Kulemin converted passes

from Mikhail Grabovski and defenseman Jonas Frogren to cut the

deficit in half shortly thereafter.

"We got down early but (Joseph) kept us in the game and let us

catch our breath and get back into it," Stempniak said. "We

were able to get a lot of shots and generated second

opportunities on rebounds. We did a better job as the game went

on to go to the net and pounce on rebounds."

Stempniak pulled Toronto even at 2-2 with a wrist shot from the

left faceoff circle 4:16 into the second.

"I pulled the puck in and tried to change the angle a little bit

and was able to get it under his arm and in the net," Stempniak


Hedberg was exposed again as Blake capitalized by unleashing a

snap shot from in front of the net with 86 seconds remaining in

the session.

However, Toronto's rally was negated by a hard wrister from

Armstrong from the slot that flew by Joseph to knot the game and

force the extra session.

Still, Joseph's teammates were impressed with his effort.

"We're really happy for him," Stempniak said. "He works so hard

in practice and it's up to us to play well in front of him, but

he made some unbelievable saves on a few breakaways."

One of those breakaways came from Slater, who failed to notch

his second goal of the game thanks to one of Joseph's saves in

the second period.

"It's tough when you fight back to tie it late and then take a

penalty to go into overtime shorthanded," Slater said. "It's

tough to kill a 4-on-3. I was able to score on the first

breakaway but then I had another breakaway shorthanded and if I

score on that it could be a different outcome."

Hedberg turned aside 43 shots - including 16 in the second.

"Every game I've ever coached against Hedberg he's stood on his

head," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "Tonight he made some

unbelievable saves, it shouldn't have gone to overtime but it

did, and we got a break and scored a nice goal. We were

committed to getting the puck on the net which makes the goalie

have to find it and we were in attack mode."


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