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Devils Top Toronto 3-2

David Clarkson, New Jersey Devils
Elsa/Getty Images

David Clarkson kept the New Jersey Devils from dropping one against an exhausted Toronto team. He scored twice, including 2:40 into overtime to give the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

“I loved our first period. I liked our third. The second I could throw out but we’ve got work to do,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “It’s still a work in progress but we’re doing a lot of good things.”

Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for the Devils, who got 31 saves from Martin Brodeur.

Phil Kessel scored his 17th goal of the season for Toronto, and Matt Frattin also scored for the Leafs. James Reimer made 23 saves.

“Playing a lot of games in just a short amount of days and then the travel last night and then to be down 2-0, we could have thrown in the towel and gave up and we didn’t,” Reimer said. “I thought we dominated for most of the last two periods and that shows a ton about our team. We deserved the two points but we for sure deserved the one point.”

Clarkson scored the winner off the rush after taking a feed from Dainius Zubrus in the slot and beating Reimer through his pads.

Kovalchuk and Clarkson scored power-play goals in the first period to give New Jersey a quick 2-0 lead.

Kovalchuck wired a one-time shot off the post and in past Reimer at 5:03. Clarkson then took advantage of some suspect defensive zone coverage by the Maple Leafs to beat Reimer at 8:59.

“We weren’t ready to start the game,” said Leafs coach Ron Wilson, whose team was outshot 11-4 in the opening period. “We just didn’t have our legs and our minds into it and New Jersey was sharp, ready and they took advantage of us.”

Kessel got the Leafs back in it at 11:29 of the second. Joffrey Lupul threw a puck in front that bounced off Kessel’s skate and past Brodeur.

The goal moved Kessel into a first place tie with Chicago’s Jonathan Toews atop the NHL goal-scoring standings.

Frattin tied it at 1:56 of the third on a great individual effort. After picking up the puck near the left-wing boards, Frattin held off Adam Larsson before beating Brodeur to his left.

The Leafs had a chance to win in late in regulation on the power play after New Jersey’s Patrik Elias took an undisciplined slashing penalty with 2:16 left in regulation, but Toronto failed to capitalize as the Devils and Brodeur hung on to force overtime.

“Late in the third we were just trying to throw pucks on net and Brodeur’s a great goalie,” Frattin said. “You can definitely tell he’s playing with confidence.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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