End of Reg.
  for this game

Steen ends drought, gives Maurice win in return to Carolina

Dec 16, 2006 - 5:32 AM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Alex Steen gave coach Paul Maurice plenty to smile about in his return to the "Tar Heel State."

Steen ended a 26-game drought with six minutes remaining in the third period, snapping a tie and giving the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The winningest coach in franchise history, Maurice was fired by Carolina on December 15, 2003, after spending parts of nine seasons with the club. Making his first appearance at the RBC Center since being relieved of his duties, he watched his current team squander a two-goal lead in the third period before coming away with a thrilling victory.

"As hard as this is to explain, it's nice to win here, but I don't have any enjoyment beating (Carolina general manager) Jim Rutherford's team," Maurice said. "It's great that we won, it's nice to win here, but there's no joy in beating your friends."

Captain Mats Sundin helped give Toronto a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes with two goals and an assist. With the three points, the Swede passed Hall of Famer Dave Keon for second place on the franchise list with 859. Sundin also overtook Jean Beliveau for 33rd in league history with his second goal, the 508th of his career.

"He played a lot of hockey," Maurice said. "I felt like he was moving. When we struggle a little bit, he kind of takes it on his shoulders."

However, the Hurricanes staged a comeback in the third as Justin Williams and defenseman Mike Commodore tallied in the first 11 minutes of the session. Commodore's goal came shortly after Steen's shot that would have given the Maple Leafs a 4-2 bulge rang off the right goalpost.

The 22-year-old proved resilient, netting just his second goal of the season and first since October 14 to break the 3-3 deadlock. Defenseman Tomas Kaberle's shot from the left faceoff circle caromed to the inner edge of the right circle, from where Steen flipped it past goaltender Cam Ward for the deciding tally.

"Kaberle came down the wing kind of on a bad angle," Ward said. "There were a couple guys in front of me. I went down for the save (and the puck) went off their skate right to Steen. It was just an unfortunate bounce and frustrating at the same time."

"For Steener to get that goal, it's huge for him and for us," Toronto netminder Andrew Raycroft said.

Defenseman Bryan McCabe had a goal and two assists and Kaberle set up a pair of tallies for Toronto, which has won two in a row following a seven-game slide.

Eric Staal and Cory Stillman recorded two assists apiece for the Hurricanes, who have lost five straight.

"I wish I knew the formula," Commodore said. "If there was something, I'd speak up and we'd end this (slide). ... It's painful."

After completing a disastrous 0-3-1 road trip, Carolina combined with Toronto to treat its fans to an exciting first period. The fun began with 8:03 remaining in the session as the Maple Leafs saw a potential 2-on-none rush nullified as play was stopped when Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican went down in his own zone with an apparent injury.

Moments after the whistle, Hedican returned to the bench, but Ward did not go long without having to make a superb save, snagging McCabe's blast with his glove following the ensuing faceoff.

Called for holding at 13:05, John Pohl exited the box after his penalty expired and received a breakout pass in the neutral zone. But before being able to get off a shot, Pohl had his stick broken by a slash from Craig Adams, resulting in a penalty shot.

Ward was up to the task, however, covering enough of the net to force Pohl to shoot high and keep the game scoreless.

Erik Cole finally broke through with four minutes left. Stillman banked a pass off the right wing boards from his own blue line that eluded a diving Kaberle, setting up a breakaway for Cole, who slid a backhander under Raycroft for a 1-0 Carolina lead.

Sundin forged a tie 2:02 later, receiving a pass at the Hurricanes' blue line, squeezing between a pair of defenders and beating Ward for his 11th goal of the season.

"We knew that they've struggled a little bit, just like us, and we knew they were going to come out hard," Sundin said. "So we wanted to make sure that we matched their work ethic."

He put Toronto in front with just over eight minutes remaining in the middle session by converting a cross-crease feed from Darcy Tucker during a 5-on-3 power play, and McCabe buried a one-timer on another two-man advantage with 2:07 left.

"Two 5-on-3s, they found the seam and were able to capitalize," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We've got to stay out of the penalty box. We've got to have more discipline than that."

Of McCabe's eight goals this campaign, seven have come on the power play.

Williams began Carolina's comeback at 6:03 of the third with a shot from the bottom of the left circle, which cut the deficit to 3-2. Commodore drew the Hurricanes even with a tally from the low slot after Kaberle put a clearing attempt right on his stick.

"At the end of the day, it kind of got overshadowed by being on the ice for four goals against," Commodore said. "I just kind of crept in there and the guy just kind of tried to clear it. It was a good feeling while it lasted."

"You can't put your finger on it when you feel uncomfortable in the third and you're losing the leads like we did," Maurice said. "I can't explain why, but it wasn't like that tonight, not even with the penalties. It was a positive bench and we felt good."








  • CORRECTION
    NHL TORONTO 4
    CAROLINA 3
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 2 (JEFF O'NEILL, TOMAS KABERLE) 14:00

    Dec 16 6:45 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 2 1 4
    CAROLINA 1 0 2 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 13 (CORY STILLMAN, ERIC STAAL) 16:00
    TOR - MATS SUNDIN 11 (KYLE WELLWOOD, HAL GILL) 18:02
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) MATS SUNDIN 12 (DARCY TUCKER, BRYAN MCCABE) 11:57
    TOR - (PP) BRYAN MCCABE 8 (TOMAS KABERLE,

    Dec 15 10:12 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 4
    CAROLINA 3
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 2 (TOMAS KABERLE, BRYAN MCCABE) 14:00

    Maple Leafs vs. HurricanesDec 15 10:00 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    CAROLINA 3
    3RD PRD: CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 4 (SCOTT WALKER, ERIC BELANGER) 10:58

    Maple Leafs vs. HurricanesDec 15 9:53 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    CAROLINA 2
    3RD PRD: CAR - (PP) JUSTIN WILLIAMS 14 (ERIC STAAL, CORY STILLMAN)
    6:03

    Maple Leafs vs. HurricanesDec 15 9:42 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 2 3
    CAROLINA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 13 (CORY STILLMAN, ERIC STAAL) 16:00
    TOR - MATS SUNDIN 11 (KYLE WELLWOOD, HAL GILL) 18:02
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) MATS SUNDIN 12 (DARCY TUCKER, BRYAN MCCABE) 11:57
    TOR - (PP) BRYAN MCCABE 8 (T

    Dec 15 9:14 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    CAROLINA 1
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) BRYAN MCCABE 8 (TOMAS KABERLE, MATS SUNDIN) 17:53
    (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Maple Leafs vs. HurricanesDec 15 9:12 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    CAROLINA 1
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) MATS SUNDIN 12 (DARCY TUCKER, BRYAN MCCABE) 11:57
    (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Maple Leafs vs. HurricanesDec 15 8:59 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1
    CAROLINA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 13 (CORY STILLMAN, ERIC STAAL) 16:00
    TOR - MATS SUNDIN 11 (KYLE WELLWOOD, HAL GILL) 18:02
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 8 8
    CAR 1

    Dec 15 8:18 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: TOR - MATS SUNDIN 11 (KYLE WELLWOOD, HAL GILL) 18:02

    Maple Leafs vs. HurricanesDec 15 8:17 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 13 (CORY STILLMAN, ERIC STAAL) 16:00

    Maple Leafs vs. HurricanesDec 15 8:10 PM