Leafs claim 6-5 shootout win over Blues

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Maple Leafs squandered a three-goal lead in the third period but recovered to seal a 6-5 shootout win over the St Louis Blues on Thursday, snapping a four-game losing skid at home.

Phil Kessel scored twice while Colby Armstrong, Kris Versteeg and Mikhail Grabovksi also tallied regulation to power the Leafs to a 5-2 lead.

But the Blues rallied behind third-period goals from Brad Winchester, Eric Brewer and Matt D'Agostini to force the game to a shootout.

Toronto's Tyler Bozak sealed the win beating Ty Conklin with a wrist shot.

The victory added to a bright start to the New Year for the Northeast cellar-dwelling Leafs, who have won two of three while the Blues remain winless in 2011.

"We took a 5-2 lead and got really sloppy on the back end," Toronto coach Ron Wilson told reporters.

"We came out of the first period down one but never gave up and had a great second period and start to third.

"But when the banana peel is on the ice you tend to step on it and couldn't stop it. Sometimes you let it out and you can't get it back in."

The Blues, making their only visit to Toronto this season, found themselves a goal behind after 15 seconds when Versteeg's shot ricocheted off Armstrong past netminder Jaroslav Halak.

Toronto took command with a second period burst, pumping four goals Halak in less than four minutes.

Grabovski sparked the explosion collecting his 10th goal in 13th games, followed by Versteeg and Kessel, who grabbed a St Louis giveaway and rifled the puck past Halak, chasing him from the game.

Kessel welcomed Blues backup goalie Conklin to the contest early in the third by putting Toronto up 5-2 but the Leafs watched their advantage disappear in a seven-minute span with Winchester, Brewer and D'Agostini beating Jonas Gustavsson.

"At least we found a way to get it to overtime and then a shootout and found a way to get another point," said Wilson.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)