NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Carolina
(Thursday, January 15th)
Final Score: Toronto 6, Carolina 4
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Jason Blake recorded his first hat trick of the season and Tomas Kaberle netted a power-play goal late in regulation, as Toronto blew a four-goal lead but topped Carolina, 6-4, at RBC Center.
Blake added two assists for a career-high five points, while Ian White and Niklas Hagman also scored for the Maple Leafs, who ended a four-game losing streak.
Vesa Toskala allowed four goals on 32 shots, but picked up his 15th win.
Matt Cullen, Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Staal and Scott Walker tallied for the Hurricanes, who have dropped four in a row.
Cam Ward surrendered five goals on just 23 shots for the loss.
After the Leafs' 4-0 lead dissipated, Kaberle launched a right-circle slap shot off a pass from Pavel Kubina to give Toronto a 5-4 lead with 5:25 left in regulation. The goal came with Carolina's Tim Gleason off for high sticking.
Ward went to the bench with just under 90 seconds remaining in regulation, and Blake finished off his trifecta with a sliding empty-net goal with 11 ticks left on the clock.
"I don't know if there is any bitter sweetness for us but we found a way to win," admitted Leafs head coach Ron Wilson. "We should never have put ourselves in that position but we did. It was a great effort from the Dominic Moore line tonight, especially from Blake, he had a great game."
White's left-point blast through traffic put the Leafs ahead 1-0 on the power play with 7:17 to play in the first.
Blake's stuffer around the right post made it 2-0 at the 1:40 mark of the second period, and Hagman put Toronto up by three just after the midway point.
Blake added a second in the period at 15:07, then Cullen got Carolina's first goal of the game off a rebound almost 3 1/2 minutes later.
Ruutu made it a two-goal game for the Hurricanes 1:21 into the third, then Staal blasted a shot past Toskala for a 5-on-3 goal and 4-3 game at 4:33.
The comeback was complete as Walker's successful poke at a loose puck floating on top of Toskala's equipment found its way home at 8:40.
"The third period is our game that we should try to play regularly but it's a difficult game to play," said Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice. "It takes a certain level of emotion to get to that point. I was pleased with the way they responded but not very pleased that we had to respond to that matter."
It was Blake's sixth career hat trick...Carolina had won five of the last six meetings, and both previous games this season...Maurice spent two seasons (2006-08) behind the bench in Toronto, missing the playoffs in each year. He had previously been head coach of Hartford/Carolina from 1995 until 2003...Walker hadn't scored in 24 games...Carolina last rallied from a four- goal deficit on Jan 7, 2000 against Anaheim in a 4-4 tie.
01/15 23:15:12 ET