RALEIGH, N.C. – Captain Rod Brind’Amour was in the right place at the right time for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Brind’Amour scored the game-winner with 1:40 left in overtime and Carolina beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Thursday night. Scott Walker and Tim Gleason each had a goal and an assist, while Ray Whitney extended his point streak to four games with an assist.
Toronto captain Mats Sundin scored with 11.4 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. It was the mirror opposite of the last time the teams met in Raleigh on Dec. 18, when the Hurricanes scored a pair late in regulation to force overtime. But in the end, the result was the same – a Carolina victory.
Brind’Amour’s game-winner came on the power play after Nikolai Antropov took a hooking penalty with 2:26 left. The Hurricanes took advantage of the extra space on the ice, playing 4-on-3. After the goal, Antropov was assessed two game misconducts, which could mean a three-game suspension for the Leafs forward.
“We got a lucky break that we got a power play and their guy didn’t clear the puck and it ends up in their net,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t care how we get our two points.”
Walker gave Carolina a 2-1 lead 3:29 into the third period when he deflected Gleason’s slap shot by Toronto goalkeeper Vesa Toskala, who had his stick knocked from his hands. The goal was reviewed but it was determined that Walker’s stick was below the crossbar when he made the deflection.
“One goal is no big deal,” Walker said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys in here who’ve got good offence. We stuck to our system and battled back.”
Toskala said he couldn’t tell if Walker’s stick was too high.
“I was going to catch the puck but they tipped it in. I don’t know. It’s a tough call,” Toskala said. “If it was a high stick or not, I can’t tell that.”
Carolina has won four of its last five games, while the Maple Leafs dropped their third straight. It was only the fourth time all season the Hurricanes have come back to win after trailing at the end of the first period.
Toronto took an early 1-0 lead 3:20 into the game when Jiri Tlusty beat goalkeeper Cam Ward with a blast from the slot. The Maple Leafs took advantage of an odd-man rush that left Ward with almost no defensive help.
But Ward came back with a stellar effort the rest of the way, finishing with 24 saves. He also benefited from a couple of missed opportunities by the Maple Leafs late in the third period.
Sundin missed an open goal opportunity with under nine minutes left that would have tied the game. Moments later, Jason Blake thought he stuffed a puck by Ward but the officials on the ice immediately ruled no goal was scored. Video replay confirmed the call.
Neither side was particularly happy about the number of reviews that occurred.
“It takes the flow out of the game,” Brind’Amour said.
Toronto coach Paul Maurice was more upset that the calls were upheld.
“(Walker’s) was a high-stick goal. Blake’s puck was in the net. Gleason found the crease and it was a lousy call,” Maurice said. “But that’s my judgment. That’s the way I feel. That’s the way our hockey players feel. That’s what the camera looked like to me.”
The Hurricanes tied the game at 1 on Gleason’s second goal of the season at 13:19 of the second period. Gleason’s slap shot from the right point bounced off Toronto’s Ian White before it trickled past Toskala and into the goal.
The Maple Leafs also struggled on the power play, going 0-of-1. Toronto has gone five games without a man-advantage goal. Carolina’s power play also was ineffective, going 0-of-4 in regulation before Brind’Amour’s game-winner on the man advantage in overtime.
Notes: Toronto lost three of the four meetings with Carolina.. Carolina LW Ray Whitney has points in four straight games. Sundin recorded his 1,300th NHL point.