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Leafs get by Hurricanes in OT

Dec 14, 2011 - 6:00 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Tim Connolly netted the game-winner 44 seconds into overtime, as the Toronto Maple Leafs snuck past the lowly Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1.

The difference maker came off a rebound of a Joffrey Lupul shot from the right circle, which trickled behind Cam Ward and somehow squirted to a trailing Connolly for an easy stuff-in.

The goal spoiled Ward's 36 saves and the goaltender showed his frustration by smashing his stick against the post. Carolina lost for the ninth time in 10 games and fell to 1-5-1 under head coach Kirk Muller, who took over for Paul Maurice on November 28.

James Reimer needed just 17 saves to earn the win, just the second in the last six games for the Leafs.

Connolly's deft deflection of Clarke MacArthur's shot from the point broke a scoreless tie with 4:14 remaining in regulation.

The lead was short-lived, thanks in part to Lupul getting whistled for high- sticking 37 seconds after the go-ahead goal.

With the man advantage, Carolina freely passed the puck around the offensive zone, and Eric Staal's cross-ice feed found an unmarked Alexei Ponikarovsky for the easy tap-in with 1:54 remaining.

"We showed we weren't going to give up," Hurricanes defenseman Derek Joslin said. "We were able to secure at least a point."

Ward, who was pulled early in two of his previous three games, stopped 13 shots in each of the first two periods, while Reimer had 12 saves total over the first 40 minutes.

"We were controlling the speed, the shot clock and the scoring chances," Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said.

Game Notes

Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf played in his 500th career game...Jeff Skinner, Carolina's leading scorer, missed a second straight game due to an undisclosed injury...Both teams had three power play chances...This was Connolly's first multi-goal game since October 22, 2010, when he scored twice against Ottawa.