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Mitchell leads Maple Leafs’ rally past Rangers

(AP) – It’s impossible to fault John Mitchell for seeming a little out of breath after another comeback victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Mitchell scored his first two NHL goals and added an assist in the Leafs’ 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

The Rangers were cruising along with a two-goal lead midway through the third period and seemed on the way to victory.

But Mitchell’s first NHL goal set the wheels in motion for a big rally as the Maple Leafs added four more goals in a span of 5:21 to pull out a victory.

Mitchell, 23, made Toronto’s NHL roster out of training camp after playing his first three professional seasons with the AHL’s Marlies. Mitchell led the AHL club with 20 goals and ranked second with 51 points in 2007-08, then added a team-high eight playoff goals in the Marlies’ run to the conference finals.

The game appeared to have slipped away by the time Mitchell was penalized for holding at 10:10 of the third period. The rookie took a penalty but was bailed out in the end.

He skated into the Rangers’ zone when the penalty expired and roofed a shot over Steve Valiquette at 12:36.

"I just fist-pumped as many times as I could," Mitchell said. "I was so excited that nothing was really running through my mind, just, ‘I scored, I scored, I scored.’

"It was great."

After Jason Blake tied it 2-2 at 14:02 and Pavel Kubina ripped a slap shot over Valiquette just 52 seconds later, Mitchell got his second of the night at 16:06 and Dominic Moore sealed it with his third of the season at 17:57.

Mitchell was a plus-4 and had five shots on goal for the night.