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Leafs dump Carolina

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs didn't need this.

Curtis Joseph made 27 saves before leaving with a broken bone in his left hand as the Leafs posted a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Joseph suffered the injury after getting his hand caught in the mesh of the net with 8:22 remaining in the third period. The injury, which occurred when he attempted to free the hand, has been diagnosed as a broken metacarpal and will sideline the Olympian for six to eight weeks.

"It was kind of a freaky thing. I went down and went to push myself up like I always do and the mesh of my glove gave way," Joseph said. "I rolled my hand over and it snapped. It felt like my hand was on the other way so I knew something was wrong. It was just a total fluke."

Losing Joseph, who ranks second in the league with 28 wins, is a major blow to the Leafs, who are three points behind first-place Boston in the Northeast Division. Joseph has played in 50 of the Leafs' 59 games this season.

"When you have a dominant player at a position like goaltending, something like this is you worst nightmare," Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "We don't have much depth at that position. You hope things like this never happen but it has. That's why you get young guys ready."

Corey Schwab replaced Joseph in the nets and stopped all four shots he faced as the Leafs won for the sixth time in their last seven games.

Sami Kapenen scored for Carolina, which has won just twice in its last 13 games (2-5-6) while having its lead over Washington atop the Southeast Division reduced to six points.

"We made a couple of mistakes," Kapanen said. "They scored their first goal off the faceoff. But I thought we worked hard enough tonight. They are a team that capitalizes on you when you make mistakes. They are one of the most skilled teams in the league."

Shayne Corson gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead with his 11th goal at 7:38 of the opening period. Carolina goaltender Arturs Irbe was knocked down in front and Corson picked up a loose puck before sliding it past the fallen netminder for his 11th goal.

Robert Reichel extended the lead for the Leafs with his 14th goal, 9:33 into the second. Kapanen answered with his 22nd just over six minutes later, bringing the Hurricanes within 2-1.

But Garry Valk provided the Leafs with some breathing room with 13:29 remaining in the third, when he fired a wrist shot past Irbe for his second goal of the season.

"It was nice to score," Valk said. "I thought Carolina was coming on strong, especially in the second period so it was nice to score the third goal at that time."

Gary Roberts scored his 14th goal of the season into an empty net with seven seconds left to seal it for Toronto.

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