Maple Leafs try for rare win over Hurricanes

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Updated: December 29, 2013

(SportsNetwork.com) – Despite some success this season, Toronto coach Randy
Carlyle isn’t a fan of shootouts.

The Maple Leafs have gone to the tie-breaking format in four straight games
and on Sunday night try to pick up a rare recent victory over the Carolina
Hurricanes.

Toronto has split its last four games, including a 4-3 shootout win over the
Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Joffrey Lupul had the lone goal of the breakaway
session, giving the Leafs two points after the club yielded a tying goal to
the Sabres with 24.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Maple Leafs trailed 2-0 after the first period, but Jake Gardiner and
Peter Holland scored within five minutes of each other in the second frame to
even things up. Phil Kessel then put Toronto ahead on a goal with 17 ticks
left in the second period.

Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots over the first 65 minutes, then turned away
all three Buffalo chances in the breakaway competition as the Leafs moved to
6-4 in shootouts this season.

“It’s not easy winning in the NHL. It’s proven night in and night out. There
are a lot of shootouts taking place. We’re at four in a row now,” said
Carlyle.

“Do we like shootouts? No.”

The Maple Leafs lost a 60-minute decision to the Hurricanes on Oct. 17 when
the clubs met in Toronto for the first of three meetings this season.

James Reimer got the start for Toronto, but left 32 seconds in after getting
hit in the head during a collision with teammate Josh Leivo. Bernier made 34
saves in relief, but his misplaying of the puck led to Carolina’s go-ahead
goal.

That came when the Hurricanes’ Ron Hainsey cleared the puck out from his own
end down the left wing. The puck then bounced off the backboards to the left
of Bernier and slid towards the net. Bernier made an attempt to swipe it away
with the stick, but missed and the puck bounced off his right skate and snuck
in with 6:56 to play.

That gave Carolina 11 wins in its last 15 versus the Leafs overall and eight
in the previous 11 played in Toronto.

Cam Ward made 24 saves in the win for the Hurricanes, who come into tonight’s
meeting having gone 0-2-2 in their last four games and 1-3-4 in the previous
eight.

Carolina saw its winless streak extended with a 4-3 overtime setback to the
Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. The Hurricanes pulled even on Drayson Bowman’s
goal with 2:29 to go in regulation, but the Pens’ James Neal beat Justin
Peters from the slot 63 seconds into overtime.

Nathan Gerbe had a goal and an assist for Carolina, while Peters stopped 22
shots.

“It would have been nice to get two points,” Peters said following his third
start in a row. “Getting a late goal was a big booster because you get that
point.”

It is unknown if Ward will finally return to net tonight. He has allowed at
least three goals in six straight and in eight of his nine games since coming
back from injury.

The Hurricanes are in danger of matching a season-high five-game slide from
Oct. 24-Nov. 2 and face a Leafs team that is expected to have center Tyler
Bozak back in the lineup.

Bozak has not played since Dec. 3 due to a strained oblique and has four goals
and seven assists in 16 games this season.