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Leafs back to work at Carolina

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs can become the first Eastern Conference team to reach 50 points Wednesday when they start a five-game road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Maple Leafs are 6-1-1 in their last eight games and are five points in front of the Boston Bruins for the lead in the Northeast Division.

On Saturday, Gary Roberts scored the go-ahead goal and the Maple Leafs overcame a two-goal deficit to post a 3-2 victory over the last-place Buffalo Sabres. Roberts has scored six goals this month after going without a goal in November.

Alexander Mogilny also scored and had two assists in Saturday's win, giving him five goals and 13 assists in his last 11 games. Mogilny leads Toronto with 20 assists.

Carolina is 5-2-0-3 this month and has gone to overtime a league-leading 14 times this season.

On Saturday, the Hurricanes started Arturs Irbe in the nets and suffered a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Irbe hadn't made a start in seven games as Tom Barrasso had claimed the starting job. It was his longest stretch of inactivity with Carolina. Barrasso, who blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-0, on December 16 has allowed nine goals in his last two starts. Both starts came after he was named NHL Player of the Week.

Sami Kapanen, Darren Langdon and defenseman Sean Hill scored for Carolina, which has alternated wins and losses in its last six games, falling twice in overtime.

Carolina suffered a 3-2 home loss to the Leafs on October 11, but rebounded for a 5-2 victory at the Air Canada Centre on November 27.

In Toronto, Kapanen recorded his second career hat trick and first in nearly four years, as the Hurricanes halted a four-game road winless streak.
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