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Maple Leafs Can't Be Brushed Off

Eastern Conference: Carolina tries to rally in third period, but Toronto hangs on for 1-0 win to force Game 6.

May 26, 2002|From Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — There's something about the brink of elimination that has brought out the best in the Toronto Maple Leafs this postseason.

Darcy Tucker scored in the first period and Curtis Joseph turned away 27 shots Saturday night as the Maple Leafs beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 1-0, to stay alive in the Eastern Conference finals.

With assistant Rick Ley filling in for ailing Coach Pat Quinn, Toronto ended Carolina's three-game winning streak and returns Tuesday to the Air Canada Centre for Game 6 trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

"We've been through a lot as a group in these playoffs and it has made us a lot stronger and a lot harder egg to crack," Tucker said. "I'm very proud to play on a team like this. We have a long road ahead, but we got one."

If necessary, Game 7 would be Thursday night in North Carolina.

It was the fourth elimination game that the Leafs have won this postseason. Toronto won Game 7 against the New York Islanders in the first round and took Games 6 and 7 against Ottawa in the second round.

"We've been there before so I think this is the third, fourth time our lives have been on the line," defenseman Bryan McCabe said.

The Prince of Wales Trophy was in the arena, but Carolina couldn't clinch its first trip to the Stanley Cup finals despite desperate hockey in the third period. A shot by Rod Brind'Amour with 17.3 seconds could have tied it, but the puck hit the post and spun out of the crease.

Joseph notched his third shutout of this postseason and 15th of his career.

Quinn was released from a Toronto hospital earlier in the day when his irregular heartbeat became normal, but doctors said it was too risky for him to travel to North Carolina.

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