Lupul pots 3 to lead Maple Leafs past Devils 5-3
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, November 2, 2011 10:39PM EDT
NEWARK, New Jersey - Joffrey Lupul had three goals in a wild second period, his first hat trick in almost four years, to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs past the New Jersey Devils 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Lupul scored three times in a span of 7:22 against Martin Brodeur, who returned to the ice after missing six games with a bruised right shoulder. Joey Crabb and Mihkail Grabovski also had goals for the Maple Leafs.
The last time Lupul scored three goals in a game was Dec. 12, 2007, when he had six points for the Philadelphia Flyers against Pittsburgh. He scored four goals in a Western Conference playoff game for Anaheim on May 10, 2006.
Patrik Elias, Darius Zubrus and David Clarkson scored for the Devils, who have lost five of six.
Phil Kessel padded his NHL scoring lead with two assists for Toronto (8-3-1). Kessel, off to the best scoring start for the Maple Leafs since 1944-45, has 10 goals and 10 assists in 12 games.
Lupul has eight goals this season. He totalled 14 last season in 54 games with the Ducks and Maple Leafs combined.
Elias scored in the second period to give him 93 power-play goals with New Jersey, taking over the franchise lead from former coach John MacLean.
Toronto got on the scoreboard first at 8:37 of the first period, when Crabb scored his first goal of the season. New Jersey failed to clear after a mad scramble in front and Crabb was left unattended in front of the net and alertly knocked the puck past Brodeur.
Four minutes later, the Devils tied the score on a power-play goal. With Philippe Dupuis in the penalty box for holding the stick, Zubrus scored his third goal of the season, set up by an aggressive move to the net by rookie Adam Henrique. Zubrus knocked home a rebound of Henrique's attempt.
Toronto regained the lead late in the first period when Jake Gardiner faked a slapshot, then passed across to Grabovski, who tucked it past Brodeur at 15:50 for a 2-1 lead. Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson was credited with an assist.
The Devils tied it again in the second period, also on a power play. Elias netted his fifth goal of the season, with assists from Ilya Kovalchuk and rookie Adam Larsson. It was the first NHL point for the 18-year-old Larsson, the team's first-round draft pick (fourth overall) last June.
Toronto wasted little time taking back the lead. Just three minutes after Elias' goal, Lupul got his first of the night, knocking in a rebound while Brodeur was screened in front.
New Jersey tied the game for a third time on a breakaway goal from Clarkson, who skated past the Toronto defence after getting a fine feed from Nick Palmieri.
Lupul's second goal of the game, a shot that handcuffed Brodeur and managed to sneak by the rusty all-star's catching glove, gave Toronto a 4-3 lead in the second.
Lupul added his third of the period off a fine rush by Kessel, who brought the puck into the Devils' zone and fired a shot that Brodeur stopped. But he could not come across the crease in time to stop Lupul, who made it 5-3.
Notes: Not only did Larsson get his first NHL point, but so did journeyman Brad Mills, who had his first assist. Mills is 28.