STATS | SCORESHEET
November 25, 2005
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Hurricanes were so desperate to end a season-worst three-game losing streak they would've played all night if necessary.
It took shootout goals from Radim Vrbata and Matt Cullen for Carolina to pull out a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
"Losing the way we were was not acceptable,'' Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour said.
Toronto forwards Mats Sundin and Jeff O'Neill were stopped during the shootout, leaving the Maple Leafs with back-to-back losses for the first time in nearly a month.
Bret Hedican, Eric Staal and Andrew Ladd, playing in his third NHL game, scored in regulation for Carolina.
There was an extended video review of a potential goal by Sundin 43 seconds into overtime that would have won it for Toronto.
"I don't know how they missed it, it was in twice,'' Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "I don't know how they missed it. I'd like to get a break.''
Later, the Hurricanes fended off a Toronto power play, but the Maple Leafs needed goalie Mikael Tellqvist's save of Aaron Ward's shot with three seconds remaining in overtime to reach the shootout.
Neither Tellqvist, making his sixth appearance of the season, or Carolina goalie Martin Gerber had been involved in a shootout this season.
Vrbata and Cullen haven't scored in a combined 22 games, but Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said he felt comfortable sending them out for the shootout.
Carolina's previous 12 games ended in regulation. The Hurricanes' only other shootout came in the second game of the season when they defeated Pittsburgh on Oct. 7.
"It's a relief for everyone,'' Ladd said. "Nobody likes a losing streak.''
Toronto's Chad Kilger scored off a feed from Eric Lindros, who won a faceoff, with 8:37 remaining in regulation to tie it 3-3.
O'Neill, a former Carolina player, and Jason Allison also scored for Toronto.
"It's never fun to lose in a shootout the way we did, but at least we showed some character,'' O'Neill said.
The Hurricanes, whose special teams were criticized by Laviolette earlier in the week, scored two power-play goals and added another short-handed.
Brind'Amour logged more than 25 minutes in his first game after a four-game absence with a groin injury.
"I kept checking with him to see if he's OK, and he was,'' Laviolette said. "The thing with Roddy, he doesn't get eased back in.''
Ladd, the fourth overall selection in the 2004 draft, knocked in the puck during a power-play scramble in front of the net with 2:18 left in the second period. Officials used video review to confirm the goal for the 19-year-old left-wing.
Staal's second-period, short-handed goal gave the Hurricanes a short-lived 2-1 lead. Staal's team-leading 16th was his first career short-handed goal.
Allison tied the game 2-2 on a move down the right side.
Hedican opened the scoring less than five minutes in, sending a drive from near the blue-line. The puck skidded off a Toronto skate and into the net, giving the Hurricanes their first power-play goal in three games.
O'Neill's power-play goal came after Gerber blocked Alex Steen's shot. O'Neill, who spent his first nine NHL seasons with the Carolina franchise, was scoreless in two earlier games this season against the Hurricanes.
NOTES: Carolina activated D Glen Wesley, who missed eight games with a groin injury. Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour returned after a four-game absence with a groin injury. LW Ray Whitney missed his second game in a row with an injured groin. Carolina LW Cory Stillman (foot) and D Oleg Tverdovsky (ill) missed their first games of the season. ... Toronto RW Darcy Tucker, tied for fourth on the team with eight goals, missed his first game of the season to be home with his wife who is expecting a baby. Tucker scored the Maple Leafs' only goal Wednesday night against Boston. ... Carolina D Andrew Hutchinson earned his first points with the organization with assists on the Hurricanes' first and third goals.