RALEIGH, N.C. – Radim Vrbata and Matt Cullen scored in the shootout, lifting the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.

Toronto’s Mats Sundin and Jeff O’Neill were stopped during the shootout, leaving the Maple Leafs with back-to-back losses for the first time in nearly a month.

Bret Hedican, Eric Staal and Andrew Ladd, playing in his third NHL game, scored in regulation for Carolina, which snapped a season-high, three-game losing streak.

There was an extended video review of a potential Sundin goal 43 seconds into overtime that would have won it for Toronto. Later, the Hurricanes fended off a Toronto power play, but the Maple Leafs needed goalie Mikael Tellqvist’s save of Aaron Ward’s shot with three seconds remaining in overtime to reach the shootout.

Neither Tellqvist, making his sixth appearance of the season, or Carolina goalie Martin Gerber had been involved in a shootout since it was instituted by the NHL this season to eliminate ties.

Carolina’s previous 12 games ended in regulation. The Hurricanes’ only other shootout came in the second game of the season when they defeat Pittsburgh on Oct. 7.

Toronto’s Chad Kilger scored off a feed from Eric Lindros, who won a faceoff, with 8:37 remaining in regulation to tie it at 3.

O’Neill, a former Carolina player, and Jason Allison also scored for Toronto, which has lost consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month.

The Hurricanes, whose special teams were criticized by coach Peter Laviolette earlier in the week, scored two power-play goals and added another short-handed.

Ladd, the fourth overall selection in the 2004 draft, knocked in the puck during a power-play scramble in front of the net with 2:18 left in the second period. Officials used video review to confirm the goal for the 19-year-old left wing.

Staal’s second-period, short-handed goal gave the Hurricanes a short-lived 2-1 lead. Staal’s team-leading 16th was his first short-handed.

Allison tied the game at 2 on a move down the right side.

Hedican opened the scoring less than five minutes in, sending a drive from near the blue line. The puck skidded off a Toronto skate and into the net, giving the Hurricanes their first power-play goal in three games.

O’Neill’s power-play goal came after Gerber blocked Alex Steen’s shot. O’Neill, who spent his first nine NHL seasons with the Carolina franchise, was scoreless in two earlier games this season against the Hurricanes.

Notes: Carolina activated D Glen Wesley, who missed eight games with a groin injury. Hurricanes captain Rod Brind’Amour returned after a four-game absence with a groin injury. LW Ray Whitney missed his second game in a row with an injured groin. Carolina LW Cory Stillman (foot) and D Oleg Tverdovsky (ill) missed their first games of the season. … Toronto RW Darcy Tucker, tied for fourth on the team with eight goals, missed his first game of the season to be home with his wife who is expecting a baby. Tucker scored the Maple Leafs’ only goal Wednesday night against Boston. … Carolina D Andrew Hutchinson earned his first points with the organization with assists on the Hurricanes’ first and third goals.

AP-ES-11-25-05 2226EST


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