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: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets around Shane O'Brien #55 of the Nashville Predators during game action at the Air Canada Centre November 16, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abelimages/2010 Getty Images

It took the weirdest, wildest game of the season, but the Toronto Maple Leafs finally landed back in the win column and ended an eight-game losing skid.

Funny thing was they kicked it off by spotting the opposition a 3-0 lead.

The Leafs' rescued a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday after an improbable second period rally, a comeback required after Toronto fell down by three only 12 minutes into the game and were soundly booed off the ice.

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One of the least penalized teams in the NHL coming in, the Preds then spent most of the second period taking turns in the box, as they were whistled for six consecutive minor penalties.

The Leafs' moribund power play, meanwhile, roared to life, scoring four goals in a 10-minute span.

Winger Kris Versteeg, shifted to the point on the man advantage, started things off with two goals from the point 59 seconds apart, bringing Toronto to within a goal. Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin then both chipped in their first power play tallies of the year to give the Leafs their first lead of the game heading into the third.

It turned out to be all they needed.

Along the way, Toronto had a goal disallowed for goalie interference that likely should have counted, payback perhaps for Colton Orr steamrolling the Florida Panthers netminder and scoring the winner in the Leafs' last victory three weeks earlier.

Goals aplenty

The last thing anyone expected was for this to be a good game to break a goal drought, not with the super stingy Predators in town and the Leafs having scored only 12 goals in their last eight.

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Both teams entered with two of the worst five goals per game averages in the NHL and with leading scorers in Clarke MacArthur and Cal O'Reilly without much of an offensive pedigree.

While O'Reilly went pointless, MacArthur picked up three assists -- all off nice passes on the power play -- and was a minus-4 on the night, tagged with several goals against due in part to a turnover-filled start for linemate Grabovski.

The goat

While it wasn't a game to remember for Leafs netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who left the game in the third period with a minor injury, it was defenceman Brett Lebda who wore the goat horns for Toronto.

Lebda's first mistake came when he made a soft attempt to prevent Jordin Tootoo's goal that made it 2-0 in the early going.

Then, with Toronto down 3-1 and on its first of many power plays, Lebda gifted the puck on the blueline to Preds centre Marcel Goc, who beat Giguere on the resulting breakaway.

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Lebda, now minus-9 in 10 games as a Leaf, then sat most of the rest of the game. He is likely to be a healthy scratch Thursday against the New Jersey Devils.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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