Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Toronto leads 3-0

Game 1: Wednesday, January 29th
Maple Leafs3Final
Hurricanes2
Game 2: Tuesday, February 18th
Hurricanes3Final
Maple Leafs4
Game 3: Saturday, March 1st
Hurricanes1Final
Maple Leafs4
Game 4: Tuesday, March 25th
Maple Leafs3Final
OT
Hurricanes3

Maple Leafs 3

(40-27-3, 90 pts)

Hurricanes 3

(22-37-6, 61 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 25, 2003

PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

1 2 3 OT T
TOR 2 0 1 03
CAR 0 2 1 03

J. O'Neill (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

O. Nolan (Maple Leafs - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

A. Mogilny (Maple Leafs - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

O'Neill: 30+ goals in each of past three seasons

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Jeff O'Neill still doesn't consider himself one of the NHL's elite scorers. His numbers say otherwise.

O'Neill
O'Neill

O'Neill scored his 30th goal with 33 seconds left in regulation as the Carolina Hurricanes avoided a season sweep against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 3-3 tie Tuesday night.

O'Neill has at least 30 goals three seasons in a row.

"That's 100 goals for us in the last three years, and for a team that needs to count every one of them, he's been a big part,'' coach Paul Maurice said. "He's scored a lot of really big goals -- in overtime, late in games. He's been critical for us. He's established himself as a pure goal scorer.''

O'Neill has 41, 31 and 30 goals the last three seasons, but the team's only All-Star shrugged off his numbers when asked about them after the game.

"There are so many skilled guys and goal scorers in this league,'' O'Neill said. "If you can get to 30 or 35 goals every year, and do it five or six years, then you establish yourself as a premier scorer. Until then, I don't think it's appropriate.''

O'Neill scored the game-tying goal 27 seconds after Carolina pulled Kevin Weekes for an extra skater. O'Neill took a centering pass from Ron Francis and beat Trevor Kidd with a low shot from the slot.

Maurice took a chance pulling Weekes with a minute left and the faceoff close to center ice.

"You never know what kind of chance you're going to get (if you wait),'' Maurice said. "With six out there you've got at least a much better chance of winning a scrum on a draw and O'Neill had been pretty good on our faceoffs. There's not as much risk when you're a few points behind the team you're playing.''

The Maple Leafs, who had beaten Carolina three straight this season, took a 3-2 lead with 11:04 left when Owen Nolan tipped in a shot from Alexander Mogilny for his seventh goal in nine games since being traded from San Jose on March 5.

Weekes was able to salvage the point for Carolina when he stopped Mogilny on a breakaway with 14.3 seconds left in overtime.

"We're having a bit of a tough time right now with playing 60 minutes of hockey,'' Kidd said. "We're playing bits and pieces the way we want to play, but at other times we're letting things slide.

"I don't know if it's not enough focus or not enough enthusiasm on the bench. It's probably just a little bit of everything that's not allowing us to get the points we want,'' the goalie added.

Toronto scored twice on its first six shots. Two others hit the post in the opening 1:03 as Carolina's defense gave Weekes little help in the early going.

Mats Sundin beat Weekes with a low shot to the glove side 3:34 in for his team-leading 34th. Mogilny notched his 30th five minutes later from in close, taking a nice centering pass from Nolan.

Sundin and Mogilny have hurt Carolina in the past. The Toronto captain has 60 points in 52 career games against the Hurricanes, while Mogilny has 62 in 52 games.

Carolina closed to 2-1 less than five minutes into the second when Toronto left Tomas Kurka alone in front, and the rookie beat Trevor Kidd for his third.

Aaron Ward then tied it 1:07 before the intermission with a screen shot that got by Kidd on the short side.

Game notes


The RBC Center took a jab at the Maple Leafs in warmups, posting 19 and 67 on the shot clock. Toronto last played in the Stanley Cup finals in 1967. ... Toronto D Glen Wesley missed playing against his former team because of a broken ankle sustained in a 3-2 loss at Boston on Monday night. ... Carolina RW Radim Vrbata, who has five goals in five games since being traded from Colorado, was scratched with the flu. ... Mogilny has scored 30 or more goals eight times. ... O'Neill played in his 600th career game -- all with the Carolina franchise.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES