TORONTO (AP)—Even with the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead in the third period, fans let the team know how they feel about general manager John Ferguson.
Despite chants of “Fire Ferguson! Fire Ferguson!” raining down, Ian White had a goal and an assist to help the Maple Leafs snap a five-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
“We’ve been struggling and it was nice to see a couple of bounces finally go our way,” White said. “We expected a couple of wins a lot sooner than this, but we’ve been working hard the last couple of games and we worked hard for this one and got the result we wanted.”
Tomas Kaberle, Chad Kilger, Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for struggling Toronto, which won for the third time in regulation in 14 games. The Maple Leafs will try to win a second consecutive game for the first time in more than a month when they play in Boston on Thursday night.
“It’s a win and we’re taking it,” a relieved coach Paul Maurice said. “With all that was going on … getting back to just playing hockey … in some ways, it becomes easier.”
“They were a desperate team, (but) so are we,” Carolina’s Mike Commodore said. “We haven’t had the best record as of late and this was a game we needed to win.”
With Atlanta winning earlier in the night, Carolina fell out of first place in the Southeast Division.
“We got better as the game went on, but it’s unacceptable,” Carolina’s Cory Stillman said. “In the second period, we gave up three goals and you can’t afford to do that at this level.”
Kaberle opened the scoring with his seventh goal of the season at 3:51 of the second period with Commodore in the penalty box. The Czech defenseman skated into the middle of Carolina’s zone and lifted in a high wrist shot that got past Michael Leighton.
Carolina tied it with a power-play goal at 7:37 when Cole slid a cross-crease pass and Samsonov pushed the puck into the open side of the net for his first goal of the season.
Kilger gave Toronto a 2-1 lead at 9:16 when he had the puck to the right of Leighton and made a 90-degree turn before pulling the puck to his backhand and lifting it over the goalie and under the crossbar.
Cole tied it at 2 with 7 minutes left in the period when he sped around Kilger to the right of Toskala, cut to his right and slipped the puck into the open side of the net.
Stajan put the Leafs up 3-2 at 18:55 on another power play, forcing Leighton out of the game. Cam Ward was in Carolina’s net to start the third period.
Ladd tied it at 3 1:54 into the third period when he skated with the puck into the middle of the zone and shot just before being checked by White. Toskala stuck out his left leg to make the stop, but the puck rebounded back onto Ladd’s stick for an easy goal with Toskala out of position.
Ponikarovsky swung at a bouncing puck in front of Ward and it trickled past the goalie at 5:06. It was his first point in 13 games, and first goal in 14.
“I think it was the longest streak for me with no scoring,” Ponikarovsky said. “I’ve been working hard and, eventually, you get one.”
White’s low blue-line shot went through traffic and Ward’s legs at 8:20.
“I think it went off somebody,” White said. “There wasn’t a whole lot on it so he couldn’t have seen it.”
Toronto was 2-for-5, and Carolina was 1-for-3 on power plays. … F Alex Steen missed the game with a flu. … LW Ray Whitney returned to the Carolina lineup after missing three games due to illness. … D Bryan McCabe, who broke his left hand Dec. 15, is expected to resume skating by the end of the week.