Maple Leafs start strong in series against Carolina

Friday, May 17, 2002

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Toronto Maple Leafs lost two more starters and won another playoff game. So what's new?

Alexander Mogilny and Jonas Hoglund scored and Curtis Joseph turned away 31 shots as Toronto ruined Carolina's first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals, beating the Hurricanes 2-1 in Game 1 Thursday night.

The Maple Leafs came into the best-of-seven series with Carolina dragging and depleted after a pair of tough seven-game series against the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators.

Tie Domi and Paul Healey became the eighth and ninth regulars out of the lineup as the Toronto enforcer was scratched with a leg injury and Healey played just two shifts after taking a shot off his knee.

But Toronto gave the Hurricanes a lesson in grit and determination by killing seven penalties in the first 28 minutes -- and scoring when it counted.

Carolina, the third seed as the Southeast Division champions, won its opening games against New Jersey and Montreal, but now heads into Game 2 on Sunday trailing a team that just won't give in.

After a 1-1 first period, Toronto killed off four Carolina power plays before getting one of its own with 7:15 left in the second.

Hoglund tipped in a shot from the blue line by Nathan Dempsey for his fourth of the playoffs. The goal was reviewed because the right wing tipped the puck past Arturs Irbe with a raised stick, but the 2-1 Toronto lead stood after officials decided the stick was still below the crossbar.

Hoglund almost gave the Maple Leafs a two-goal lead with a minute left in the period when he hit the left post.

Seconds later, Joseph was called for a delay of game penalty as the Hurricanes, scoring at 20.4 percent on the power play coming in, went back to work with the man advantage.

But the Hurricanes failed to get a shot on goal to start the third with 1:23 of power-play time, and Toronto played a tight-checking final 18 minutes to secure its third road win of the postseason.

Carolina's momentum continued from its eight-goal Game 6 clincher against Montreal, scoring 3:23 in and peppering Joseph for 15 shots in the opening 20 minutes.

But the Maple Leafs were able to salvage the 1-1 tie after the first period.

Jeff O'Neill put the Hurricanes on the board early with a power-play goal, getting credit for his third of the postseason after an attempted clearing pass by Toronto defenseman Cory Cross went off the Carolina forward and past Joseph.

Toronto argued and thought O'Neill hit the puck into the net with his glove, but after reviewing the play for several minutes, the video goal judges and referees said it counted.

Less than four minutes later, Mogilny scored after following his own rebound into the slot. It was Mogilny's team-leading eighth and 32nd of his playoff career.

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