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Wallin scores OT winner as Hurricanes hold off Leafs during 5-4 win

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TORONTO - The Carolina Hurricanes weren't going to play a supporting role in another comeback win by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Niclas Wallin scored 1:52 into overtime on Tuesday as Carolina blew a three-goal lead before pulling out a 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs. Tuomo Ruutu, Dennis Seidenberg, Chad LaRose and Ryan Bayda also had goals for Carolina (7-3-2).

Mikhail Grabovski, with two, Niklas Hagman, Mike Van Ryn replied for the Leafs (5-4-4).

There were 10 goals scored when the teams faced each other in Raleigh on Sunday, so it wasn't all that surprising to see the offence carry over to the second half of the back-to-back series.

The Hurricanes grabbed a 3-0 lead before the first period was half over.

Ruutu beat fellow Finn Vesa Toskala with a low shot at 2:20, Seidenberg wristed one through the Leafs goalie's legs on a power play at 5:06 and LaRose scored his fourth of the season at 8:53 after the puck bounced out from the end boards.

The fans were pretty restless at Air Canada Centre even though they should probably expect this from the home team by now. After all, it was the fourth straight game the Leafs had trailed by at least two goals.

Amazingly, the team has clawed its way back in each of those games.

Toronto started its comeback on Tuesday when Hagman finished a give-and-go with Nikolai Kulemin by beating Cam Ward with a high shot at 13:52 of the first period.

The Hagman-Grabovski-Kulemin unit was easily Toronto's best on this night, providing energy and the team's second goal after Bayda had made it 4-1 for Carolina. Grabovski got his fourth of the season at 3:40 of the second period by cashing in a great cross-crease pass from Hagman on a power play.

Van Ryn set up a dramatic third period by ripping a shot behind Ward at 14:32 to narrow the Hurricanes lead to 4-3. Toronto outshot Carolina 16-5 in the middle frame and carried all the momentum into the final 20 minutes.

That was evident early as Grabovski's second of the game at 1:29 of the third period tied things up. That gave the flashy Belarussian four goals in two games.

Toronto had the chance to pull ahead during a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1:13 but Ward stood tall, setting the stage for overtime.

Notes: Toronto's Ian White dressed for the second straight game after being a scratch in the first 11... Carlo Colaiacovo, Jonas Frogren and Ryan Hollweg sat out for the Leafs ... Toronto has outshot its opponents in nine straight games ... The Hurricanes have serious injury problems: Matt Cullen (leg), Brandon Sutter (concussion), Joni Pitkanen (knee), Frantisek Kaberle (leg) and Justin Williams (Achilles tendon) are all currently on the shelf ... Maple Leafs defenceman Jeff Finger played his 100th career NHL game ... Announced attendance was 19,266.

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