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Maple Leafs end skid with victory over Flames

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped an eight-game losing streak on Tuesday with a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.

But they know they need more, a lot more, if they are to have a chance at making the playoffs.

"We've got to win," said center Dave Bolland, who scored one of the Maple Leafs goals. "We've got to win, that's all. It's a huge boost getting out of this. It's never fun losing so it's nice

to get this one in and get back on track."

Bolland's goal bounced off Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie early in the third period and put the Maple Leafs into a 2-1 lead. Right winger David Clarkson increased the lead to two goals. Center Jay McClement also scored for Toronto (37-32-8).

Defenseman Kris Russell cut the lead to one but Toronto goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier, who made 22 saves on the game, was able to protect the lead. Center Matt Stajan scored the first goal for the Flames (31-38-7), who have lost two in a row.

"Scoring chances were not coming easy," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "It was a tough night for the goalies. I thought to stay in the game both guys deserved a lot of credit because there was not much action going on. We started the third period with a couple of bad bounces but that's the way it goes. I felt that last 10 minutes we made a strong push but couldn't get the big goal."

Flames goalie Karri Ramo made 19 saves.

The Maple Leafs have a slim chance of making the playoffs after going 1-9-0 before Tuesday.

"It's been a long time, it's been too long," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "You hope

that you can build on it, but you don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We didn't paint

the Mona Lisa here tonight."

The Flames, who are eliminated from playoff contention, won six of their previous 10 games

before Tuesday.

The Maple Leafs took a 2-1 lead at 2:16 of the third period on Bolland's eighth goal of the

season. His shot toward the open side of the goal glanced off the post bounced in off Brodie.

"Those things happen in hockey," Russell said. "T.J. Brodie has been one of our best players all season."

"I don't know where we'd be without T.J. Brodie," Hartley said. "He's been so good for us since the start of the year. I wouldn't call it a bad night, but it was a night full of bad luck for

T.J. He's a worker and he was involved in every play and it didn't work out for him tonight."

Clarkson scored his fifth goal of the season at 5:47, giving the Maple Leafs a two-goal lead.

He was put into the clear on a pass from left winger Mason Raymond.

The Flames came back with Russell's sixth goal of the season at 7:24 of the third on a shot

from the right faceoff circle.

"We've got to do a better job, we were flat for a big part of that game," Stajan said. "You can

say they got a bounce on the one but they haven't had many bounces in the last month. We can't play 20 minutes and expect to win."

The Maple Leafs scored the first goal of the game 50 seconds into the middle period. McClement scored his fourth goal of the season from the edge of the crease, converting a pass from defenseman Cody Franson. Right winger Phil Kessel had a chance to put the Leafs up by two goals about three minutes later, but he couldn't beat Ramo from close in.

Nearly seven minutes into the second period, the Flames had a goal called back because the puck was put in by a high stick. The Flames tied the game at 16:55 of the second on Stajan's 13th goal of the season after he was sent into the clear on a pass from Brodie. It was Stajan's third goal and eighth point in the past six games.

The Maple Leafs outshot the Flames 7-5 in a goal-less first period. The Leafs had the only

power play of the period but were ineffective. Kessel, who already had a bruised foot, took two

shots off his foot during the first period. After the second shot to the foot, he broke his stick

in frustration when he reached the bench.

"We limited their chances," Franson said. "We kept the shots down and made it easier on

ourselves. I felt we did a lot of good things that we can build on."

NOTES: LW Bryce Van Brabant became the 10th player this season to make his NHL debut with the Flames. He signed a two-year deal after finishing his season with Quinnipiac University, which was eliminated Friday from the NCAA Tournament. ... The Flames, who lost 6-3 to the Senators in Ottawa on Sunday and were officially eliminated from the playoffs, were playing the second of five consecutive road games Tuesday. Their next game is Thursday at Tampa Bay against the Lightning. ... Flames D Dennis Wideman (upper body), RW David Jones (upper body), D Ladislav Smid (upper body) and C Markus Granlund (shoulder) were out. ... Toronto is host to the Boston Bruins on Thursday and to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday before ending the regular season with three road games.
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