NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Carolina
(Tuesday, January 30th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Carolina 1
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Nik Antropov scored two goals and the Toronto Maple Leafs began a five-game road trip with a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center.
Bates Battaglia also scored for Toronto, which has won four of its last five games and will visit the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Andrew Raycroft was stellar with 28 saves for Toronto, while Tomas Kaberle added an empty-net goal in the victory.
"When you look back, we had a pretty good January," said Toronto head coach Paul Maurice. "We have a big, big game (Wednesday) night."
Ray Whitney tallied the only goal for the Hurricanes, who have lost four of their last five games and are now eight points behind the Southeast Division- leading Atlanta Thrashers.
Cam Ward allowed three goals on 37 shots in the losing effort.
The Maple Leafs grabbed a 2-1 lead 37 seconds into the third period. Kaberle released a shot from the left point that hit traffic in front. The puck was free down low and Mats Sundin poked a pass across the top of the crease for Antropov, whose backhander from near the right post beat Ward.
"We had a break down defensively right off the bat (in the third period), and then from there, they did a pretty good job defensively," said Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette.
A penalty to Pavel Kubina at the 7:35 mark of the final stanza gave the Canes a power play. Carolina had several very good scoring chances throughout the two-minute minor, but could not beat Raycroft nor the left post, which denied Whitney's blazing one-timer from inside the left circle with 11:20 remaining.
"We had opportunities and they didn't fall," said Laviolette. "When your power play doesn't cash in the way you want it to, it can affect the game and it did. It was 2-1 at that point and we got some of the looks we wanted, but we didn't make them count."
Antropov then made it 3-1 with his second goal of the game and eighth of the season. He held control behind the Carolina net and stickhandled nicely to maintain control. Antropov banked the puck off the rear boards to avoid a Carolina defender and, from behind the net near the right post, banked the puck off the left pad of Ward and into the back of the cage with four minutes remaining in regulation.
Kaberle's empty-netter inside the final minute capped the scoring.
Following 15-plus minutes of scoreless action in the opening period, the teams traded goals within an amazing six-second span.
Battaglia opened the scoring and notched his eighth goal of the season at the 16-minute mark. A pass by Ian White from the right point was preceded by John Pohl's one-timer attempt from along the inner rim of the left circle. But Pohl partially fanned on the shot and the puck squirted into the crease for Battaglia, who was in the right place at the right time for a tap-in near the right post.
However, only six seconds later, the Hurricanes tied it up. Captain Rod Brind'Amour won the ensuing faceoff and directed the puck back to defenseman Denis Seidenberg at his own blue line. Seidenberg then sent a perfect pass through the neutral zone for Whitney, who corralled the puck at the opposite centerpoint and hustled in on a breakaway. Whitney deked once and returned to his forehand before his wrister from in close banked off the pads of Raycroft and trickled over the goal line.
Ward was very sharp throughout the first period, but the best of his 14 saves in the stanza was his last when he stopped Alexei Ponikarovsky on a breakaway as time expired.
Although the teams combined for 27 shots on goal in the second period -- 17 by Carolina -- there were not many high-percentage scoring chances. Both teams had a power play during the frame, but the goaltenders told the story as the contest remained tied 1-1 through 40 minutes of action.
Carolina's Eric Belanger missed on a penalty shot attempt in the first period...Brind'Amour left the game in the third period after Ponikarovsky struck him with a knee-to-knee hit. Brind'Amour returned shortly after...Hurricanes forward Eric Cole did not play due to a lower body contusion...This marked Antropov's second two-goal game of the season (November 9 at Boston)...The Hurricanes ended 0-for-3 on the power play and held the visitors scoreless on their four chances with the extra skater...Attendance was 16,533.
01/30 23:37:26 ET