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Tucker lifts Leafs by Hurricanes

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO (CP) - Darcy Tucker's goal with just over seven minutes left gave the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Alyn McCauley, taking Shayne Corson's spot on a line with Tucker and Travis Green, fed a picture-perfect pass from the corner to an on-rushing Tucker, who tapped in only his eighth goal of the season in front of an Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,365.

Tom Fitzgerald, Jonas Hoglund and Alexander Mogilny also scored for the Leafs (33-21-4-1), who were down 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 before Fitzgerald tied it early in the third period to set up Tucker's heroics.

Josef Vasicek, Ryan Bayda and Kevyn Adams replied for the Hurricanes (18-29-7-6), who have won only three of their last 25 games (3-17-2-3).

Bryan McCabe was a physical force against the 'Canes.
Graig Abel Photography
The Leafs outshot Carolina 47-24 but weren't nearly as impressive as in their 2-1 win over Ottawa on Saturday because they abandoned the disciplined style of play they showed that night. Instead, both teams played a wide-open and disjointed game that featured giveaways and failed defensive assignments.

Toronto's Ed Belfour wasn't nearly as busy as Carolina's Kevin Weekes but shut the door in the third period when it mattered, including a nifty glove save on Ron Francis when it was 3-3.

Fitzgerald, with his fourth of the season, tied it 3-3 only 15 seconds into the third period, beating Weekes with a backhand shot to the glove side.

Pavel Brendl had a glorious chance to put his team back on top moments later but was denied by Belfour on a breakaway from centre. Weekes stopped Mikael Renberg on a breakaway less than a minute later.

Vasicek collected only his eighth goal of the season to break a 2-2 tie at 11:30 of the second period, swatting a rebound from a Jeff O'Neill shot in the slot past Belfour on a power play.

The teams exchanged a pair of even-strength goals in a wild and sloppy first period. Adams beat his former team 37 seconds in with a shot from behind the goal line that banked off a surprised Belfour and into the net. Holgund tied it 54 seconds later by banging a rebound past Weekes.

Bayda, a Saskatoon native who played NCAA hockey for North Dakota, scored his first career goal in his third NHL game at 2:53, tapping in his own rebound after cutting to the net on his off-wing.

Mogilny completed the first-period scoring after bursting into the high slot and beating Weekes stick side with a laser-like wrist shot.

Toronto went 0-for-6 with the man advantage, stretching their futility on the power play to 0-for-20 in the last four games.

Corson was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game but this time he didn't vent any anger.

"I just look at this as another challenge in my career,'' Corson said after the pre-game skate. "No excuses, I haven't played up to my ability.''

Corson also said he would not lift his no-trade clause.

"I want to remain a Leaf,'' he said.

This wasn't quite the Hurricanes squad Leafs fans learned to despise last spring when Carolina eliminated Toronto in six games in the Eastern Conference final. For starters, goalie Arturs Irbe, who looked unbeatable during that series, now finds himself in the AHL waiting to be traded after falling to earth this season.

Also missing in action Tuesday night were centre Rod Brind'Amour (broken hand) and winger Erik Cole (broken leg), key players in the playoffs who both are gone for the season.

Notes: Forward Paul Healey was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in the last nine games but Toronto coach Pat Quinn says he won't send him down to the AHL St. John's farm team for the time being because Healey would have to clear waivers . . . Forwards Jaroslav Svoboda (back), Jesse Boulerice (concussion) and Jeff Heerema (broken wrist) also were out of Carolina's lineup.
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