Leafs-Thrashers: Toronto Edges Atlanta in OT, 4-3; Cujo Gets Win No. 450

Dino MoriAnalyst IDecember 31, 2008

It's been nearly nine months since 41-year-old, netminder Curits Joseph enjoyed the sweet taste of victory between NHL pipes.

The win finally came as his Toronto Maple Leafs closed out the 2008 portion of their schedule with a come-from-behind victory over the visiting Atlanta Thrashers at the Air Canada Center Tuesday, 4-3.

Joseph also reached a milestone in the victory, collecting his 450th NHL career win.  That ranks him fourth all-time behind former Leaf Ed Belfour (484), Martin Brodeur (538) and Patrick Roy (551).  Joseph passed the legendary Terry Sawchuk last season after signing a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames.  Sawchuk ended his career with 447 wins.

It was April 5th of this year as a member of the Flames that Joseph last won a regular season game, beating the Vancouver Canucks.

Cujo, as he is known to many in the NHL, won for only the first time this season, after going 0-4 and a lofty goals against average of 4.12 in seven starts.

Following yesterday's practice, Leafs coach Ron Wilson told the assembled media that Joseph would start the next two games in an effort to get him into a rhythm.  The back-up to starter Vesa Toskala will again see action tomorrow night at home against the Buffalo Sabres.

If he beat the Sabres, it seems likely that Wilson will stay with Cujo with a division clash upcoming on Saturday against provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators.

But, lets not get ahead of ourselves.

After letting in two goals on his first four shots, Joseph held the fort for most of the game as he finished the night making 29 saves.  His counterpart, Thrashers' keeper Johan Hedberg was the busier of the goalies, stopping 44 of 47 shots.

Blueliner Pavel Kubina won the game for the Leafs, scoring 33 seconds into overtime as Toronto took advantage of a late third period penalty to Atlanta defenseman Tobias Enstrom. 

Mikhail Grabovsky, Jason Blake and Lee Stempniak also scored for Toronto.  Bryan Little with his 19th goal of the season and Jim Slater replied for Atlanta.

The chants of Cujo, Cujo rang from the rafters at the ACC, after Joseph robbed Slater on a breakaway midway through the second with the score knotted at two.

The save clearly provided momentum for the home side as a few minutes later Blake put away a deflected point shot to give the Leafs a 3-2 lead.