Hurricanes blow away Leafs, tie series

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2002

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Niclas Wallin scored 13:42 into overtime Sunday as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Game 2 to tie the Eastern Conference final.

Toronto's Alyn McCauley forced overtime by scoring with 7.4 seconds left in regulation.

Wallin's shot from 30 feet, with Bates Battaglia creating traffic in front of Curtis Joseph, was his second OT game-winner in these playoffs.

McCauley's goal sent the Hurricanes to the locker room deflated. But Wallin's goal gave Carolina hope again in the tight-checking, hard-hitting series.

Carolina improved to 4-1 in overtime in the postseason.

Bret Hedican scored his first goal of the playoffs and second career postseason goal with 12:29 left in the third period to give Carolina a 1-0 lead. He took a pass from Martin Gelinas and faked a shot from the left circle, which drew Joseph out of his net -- and out of position.

Then Hedican, acquired by Carolina in January from Florida, pulled the puck back and made a move on the Toronto goalie that froze him, and Hedican snapped it in from a sharp angle as the record crowd of 18,924 erupted.

But Carolina failed to put the game away late. The Hurricanes couldn't score with a two-man advantage of 1:20, and Erik Cole had the puck roll off his stick on a breakaway with 4:37 left.

Toronto pulled Joseph for an extra attacker with 1:22 remaining and had several good shots that were stopped by goalie Arturs Irbe before one last rush. But the Leafs were able to find a wide-open McCauley, who ruined what would have been Irbe's first postseason shutout in 42 games by drilling a high shot from the slot into the net with just seconds left.

Game 3 is Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.

The Maple Leafs expected to get a lift from the return of injured captain Mats Sundin, who missed 12 straight playoff games with a broken wrist, and other regulars Darcy Tucker (shoulder), Tie Domi (leg) and defenseman Jyrki Lumme (concussion).

But Toronto managed just 10 shots through two periods and it appeared Sundin was unable to shoot with his injured left wrist.

The four injured players made their appearance together 2 1/2 minutes in, the three forwards forming Toronto's fourth line. Late in the first, Sundin had a wide open shot, but didn't pull the trigger, instead passing it through the slot on a play that didn't connect.

Sundin also had Toronto's best scoring chance short-handed with a minute left in the second when he and Lumme headed back toward Irbe 2-on-1. But Sundin never really got off a shot after taking a bouncing pass as Irbe made a sprawling stick and pad save.

Several thousand flag-waving Toronto fans drove to North Carolina to watch the Maple Leafs, and tickets were being scalped outside the arena for up to $1,000 each in this suddenly hockey-crazed city.

The Toronto fans cheered their team and injured players in the pregame warmups, but were drowned out by the Carolina faithful as the Hurricanes hit the ice.

and the game wore on.

Notes: Carolina has eight straight postseason games with 30 or more shots. ... The Hurricanes sold 194 standing-room only tickets for $110 each. ... With Lumme back on defense, Nathan Dempsey, one of Toronto's heroes from Game 1, was a healthy scratch. ... Gary Roberts extended his point streak to eight straight games. He has five goals and seven assists during that span. ... Sundin had the second assist on McCauley's game-tying goal.

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