For the Toronto Maple Leafs, this matchup with the Devils must have seemed like a bad joke from the NHL's schedule makers. After hitting the road for games in Boston and New York, the Leafs were asked to take on the Devils on the second night of back-to-back games not in the Prudential Center in Newark, but back home at the Air Canada Centre.
That travel seemed to impact Toronto from the drop of the puck, with the Devils drawing a penalty on John-Michael Liles within the first few minutes. Toronto's problematic PK was frustrated by the Devils, surrendering the first goal of the game when Ilya Kovalchuk took a perfect cross-ice setup from Petr Sykora before blasting the puck past James Reimer.
The Devils continued to pressure the Leafs with and without the puck, finally drawing another penalty when Tim Connolly was whistled down for a slash on Andy Greene. Zach Parise set up David Clarkson just outside of the Toronto crease. Reimer attempted to pokecheck the puck away, but Clarkson evaded and simply flipped the puck into the net past the goaltender's outstretched legs.
The Leafs finally seemed to finally catch up to the pace of the game after the first intermission, drawing their first power play of the game early in the period. Taking momentum from the power play, Toronto finally put a puck past Brodeur when the top line of Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak, and Phil Kessel broke into the Devils' zone midway through the second period. Lupul would take the puck down almost to the goal line before flipping the puck into the crease, where it banked off the leg of Kessel and into the net.
Video review confirmed that there was no kicking motion, and the Leafs had cut the lead to one.
The Leafs were unable to tie the game in the second period despite hammering Brodeur for 16 shots, but they found an early goal in the third period when Matt Frattin picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and came off the side boards to beat Brodeur on the rush.
Energized by the goal, Toronto had several "near miss" opportunities to take the lead, but the Devils were able to turn them aside, while the Devils could not solve Reimer despite several excellent chances, including another late opportunity right in front of the net by Clarkson.
Toronto drew a slashing call on Patrick Elias with just over two minutes to go, but New Jersey's penalty kill was able to preserve the tie and this game headed to OT.
Phil Kessel attempted to send the crowd home happy, but Brodeur swallowed his shot early in the extra period, hanging on for a whistle. The home team dominated much of the remaining time, but the game went to the visitors when Danius Zubrus carried the puck into the Toronto zone, curled to open up space and then threw the puck to an undefended Clarkson, who fired from the left faceoff circle to beat Reimer for the OT winner.