NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Toronto
(Monday, February 23rd)
Final Score: Carolina 2, Toronto 1
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Kevin Weekes stopped 28 shots and Ron Francis scored his first game-winning goal of the season to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
Francis' goal was the 545th of his career, passing the great Maurice "Rocket" Richard for sole possession of 20th place in NHL history. Erik Cole also scored for Carolina, which won for just the second time in 10 games (2-4-3-1).
Nik Antropov scored the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, while Mikael Tellqvist stopped 27-of-29 shots in place of injured netminder Ed Belfour, as Toronto had a two-game winning streak snapped.
"We can't blame it on him. He had an excellent game," Toronto's Mats Sundin said of Tellqvist.
With 4:47 gone in the third period, Carolina scored the go-ahead goal on the power play. With Bryan Marchment whistled for a clipping penalty at the 4:01 mark, Carolina capitalized. Jeff O'Neill ripped a shot from the left point that ricocheted of the back boards and out in front to Tellqvist's left. Francis was there to put the puck in the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.
"I've always considered myself more of a playmaker than a goal scorer," said Francis. "When a playmaker hears his name mentioned alongside Maurice 'The Rocket' Richard, that's extremely special for me."
Toronto pulled Tellqvist with 1:27 to play in regulation and got several good scoring chances in the waning seconds, including shots by Joe Nieuwendyk and Owen Nolan from within 12 feet. But Weekes was equal to Nieuwendyk's blast with a left pad save, and Nolan partially fanned on his attempt, and the Hurricanes escaped with the win.
Weekes has won both games he has started this season in his hometown of Toronto, while making 60-of-61 saves.
Carolina caught a break with just over seven minutes left in the second period of a scoreless game, when Antropov rang the right post with a wide open net on a 2-on-1. But Antropov would redeem himself in a shorthanded situation less than two minutes later.
With Tom Fitzgerald in the penalty box for closing his hand on the puck, Alexei Ponikarovsky battled for a loose puck along the boards and put on a burst of speed to get deep into the Hurricanes' zone. He tried to stuff the puck through Tellqvist, but couldn't. Antropov, though, pounced on the rebound and put it past the netminder to make it 1-0.
The Hurricanes got things even on the power play with 2:32 remaining in the second period on Cole's 12th tally of the year. With Antropov in the penalty box for tripping, Sean Hill blasted a point shot that Cole pounded home from the slot.
The Hurricanes won for the first time in 18 games (1-7-9-1) this season when tied after two periods.
Toronto placed Belfour on injured reserve Saturday because of a back injury. However, because the move was retroactive, he was eligible to return against Carolina, but did not...The Canes won for the first time in their last five road games (1-3-1)...The season series between the clubs is tied 2-2. Toronto, however, is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings between the teams...Toronto is 7-2-2-0 when tied after two periods.
02/24 00:42:31 ET