TORONTO (AP)—The Maple Leafs did all they could to rally back from a three-goal deficit. Toronto just didn’t have enough to pull out the victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Niclas Wallin scored 1:52 into overtime as the Hurricanes blew a three-goal lead before pulling out a 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
With the game tied in the third period, Toronto had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:13, but couldn’t put home a goal.
“I thought after that, a little bit of the momentum left them,” Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. “Not that we turned it on that much, but it became pretty even at that point. No team really dominated from that point on, so we did grab some momentum and settled things down with that kill.”
There were 10 goals scored when the teams faced each other in Raleigh on Sunday, so it wasn’t all that surprising to see the offense carry over to the second half of the back-to-back series.
“We’ve got to hammer it home,” said Toronto coach Ron Wilson. “We’ve changed our focus a little bit—we thought we had (defense) in the can and have gone more into the attack mode, more shots and focused on offense. We just have to hammer (defense) home.”
The Hurricanes grabbed a 3-0 lead before the first period was half over.
Ruutu beat Vesa Toskala with a low shot at 2:20, Seidenberg scored on a power play at 5:06 and LaRose tallied his fourth goal of the season at 8:53 after the puck bounced out from the end boards.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the first (period) and it was too big to get out of almost,” said Toronto defenseman Jeff Finger. “We salvaged a point but I think everybody agrees that that’s not good enough in the first. It pretty much cost us two points.”
The Hagman-Grabovski-Kulemin unit was easily Toronto’s best on this night, providing energy and the team’s second goal after Bayda had made it 4-1 for Carolina. Grabovski got his fourth of the season at 3:40 of the second period by cashing in a great cross-crease pass from Hagman on a power play.
Van Ryn set up a dramatic third period by ripping a shot behind Ward at 14:32 to narrow the Hurricanes lead to 4-3. Toronto outshot Carolina 16-5 in the middle frame and carried all the momentum into the final 20 minutes.
That was evident early as Grabovski’s second of the game at 1:29 of the third period tied things up. That gave the flashy Belarussian four goals in two games.
Toronto’s Ian White dressed for the second straight game after being a scratch in the first 11… Carlo Colaiacovo, Jonas Frogren and Ryan Hollweg sat out for the Leafs … Toronto has outshot its opponents in nine straight games … The Hurricanes have serious injury problems: Matt Cullen (leg), Brandon Sutter (concussion), Joni Pitkanen (knee), Frantisek Kaberle (leg) and Justin Williams (Achilles tendon) are all currently on the shelf … Finger played his 100th career NHL game … Announced attendance was 19,266.