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TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs were brimming with confidence entering Thursday night's matchup against New Jersey, having earned points in five straight games.
The Devils, however, were not. They were banged up, missing some key players and winless in their last five games.
Yet it was New Jersey that outworked, outhustled and outplayed the Maple Leafs, with Mike Cammalleri and Eric Gelinas scoring power-play goals in a 5-3 win.
"We were going to have to play a real lunch-pail type game there tonight," New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said.
"They have a ton of skill and we were going to have to find a way to slow them down. Bang them, good structure through the neutral zone, that was the gameplan and for the most (part) our guys executed it," he said.
The Maple Leafs hadn't lost in regulation since a 9-2 rout by Nashville on Nov. 18.
"My message was whatever we did today to prepare ourselves to play — don't do it again," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle said.
Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier and Adam Henrique had the other goals for New Jersey.
Mike Santorelli, Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel scored for the Maple Leafs.
Gelinas scored the only goal of the first period. With Cody Franson in the penalty box for interference, Gelinas got his third goal of the season at 4:53 with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that handcuffed Jonathan Bernier.
Toronto tied it early in the second when Santorelli tipped in a floating shot by Joffrey Lupul for his fourth goal.
A few minutes later, Bernier controlled the puck behind the net and made a nice pass to Gionta in front, who scored his first goal.
Kadri made it 2-all with a short-handed goal at 11:14 of the middle period.
Cammalleri's 11th goal put New Jersey ahead for good. He scored at 16:48 after Lupul was sent off for boarding.
In the third period, Bernier gave the Devils a two-goal cushion at 6:12 with his second goal of the season. Henrique added an insurance goal, his seventh, at 11:58.
The Maple Leafs pulled their goaltender and Kessel scored his 13th goal at 19:25.
"Plain and simple, I think we got outworked tonight ... they were physically involved in the game to a much higher level than we were," Carlyle said.
NOTES: The Maple Leafs continue their five-game homestand Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks. The Devils return home Saturday to play the Washington Capitals. ... New Jersey forward Jaromir Jagr and defenseman Adam Larsson were scratched due to flu-like symptoms. Devils forward Patrik Elias sat out with a groin injury. ... The Toronto scratches were forward Leo Komarov (concussion) and defenseman Roman Polak (knee).