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Stajan, Grabowski rally Maple Leafs past Kings

By Jonathan Raber

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Following a day of travel and three-hour

time change, the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to avoid a slow

start. They weren't able to prevent the early letdown, but made

up for it with a late flurry.

Matt Stajan and Mikhail Grabovski scored just over a minute

apart in the third period to lift the Maple Leafs to a 3-1

victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

"It was a very sluggish start," Toronto defenseman Jeff Finger

said. "It took a good period, period and a half before we got

the cobwebs out."

Once the hangover was gone, the Kings had no answer for the

Maple Leafs' attack.

"The early part of the game was a matter of us going

post-to-post to find our legs," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said.

"Once we settled down, we got back to our 'throw the puck into

the net kind of game.'"

Trailing by a goal, the Maple Leafs took advantage of a pair

costly Kings' penalties early in the session. Defenseman Sean

O'Donnell was whistled for tripping and captain Dustin Brown was

hit with a tripping penalty in the opening two minutes of the

period to set up a 5-on-3 advantage.

Stajan needed just 10 seconds to even the score, flicking a

loose puck in front of the crease past a host of Kings.

"We got a lucky break, crashed the net," Wilson said.

"(Stajan), who wasn't really feeling well, got rewarded by just

hanging tough in front."

Still with a man-advantage, the Leafs struck 81 seconds later

when rookie John Mitchell intercepted a pass as the Kings tried

to clear the puck. He then fed an open Grabovski in front for

the conversion and a 2-1 lead.

Finger added an empty-net goal in the final 10 seconds to

account for the final score.

The Maple Leafs had struggled entering the contest, having won

just once in their previous six games. Vesa Toskala allowed an

early first-period goal but finished with 32 saves.

"The last few games, he's been outstanding for us," Maple Leafs

defenseman Luke Schenn said. "It wasn't his fault the first

goal, we gave up a breakaway. He played well the whole night.

He's been awesome for us and the reason the last few nights

we've been playing better."

Jason LaBarbera stopped 27 shots for Los Angeles, which had its

three-game winning streak snapped. It was LaBarbera's second

start in past 30 days.

"We played well, we just didn't do enough," LaBarbera said. "We

found a way to lose, instead of finding a way to win."

The Kings took a 1-0 advantage before the Leafs could settle in,

scoring 57 seconds into the opening period.

Defenseman Matt Greene came up with the steal in Kings'

territory and sent a long pass to Frolov, who was streaking down

the center of ice. The right wing faked twice and finished with

a backhand past Toskala.

Toronto got some bad news on the injury front when it was

revealed that right wing Jamal Mayers suffered a broken hand

after hitting it on the post in the first period.

After undergoing x-rays that showed damage, Wilson said he

expects Mayers to miss three-to-four weeks.


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