Winger Darcy Tucker did not accompany the Leafs to Raleigh because his wife is close to delivering the couple's third child.
That further disrupted coach Pat Quinn's revamping of the forward lines following Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. Tucker was supposed to play left wing with Mats Sundin and Mariusz Czerkawski, but Alex Steen was re-inserted with his Swedish countryman.
Quinn was not predicting a win before last night in Carolina, but he was convinced that the pride factor on his veteran team would guarantee a much better effort than this past week against the Bruins.
"We've got a good room in there and I don't think they were very happy after Wednesday," Quinn said. "You hear comments such as 'they need to have a bad game to bounce back.' But I don't buy that. Who wants to get their lunch handed to them once every five games? We're not in that business."
HOME FIRE BURNING
Since losing their first two home games, the Leafs are 8-3-0 at the Air Canada Centre, returning tonight to meet the Montreal Canadiens.
"I think ever since I was a kid, the Leafs always played well at home," Richmond Hill-born winger Jeff O'Neill recalled. "I'm glad that tradition is keeping itself up. It's one of those things; we enjoy our home rink, it's comfortable here and they're the best fans in hockey."
O'Neill had been a career Hurricane/Hartford Whaler prior to this season and was booed loudly when he scored Toronto's first goal last night.
Out of action for the Hurricanes last night were defencemen Oleg Tverdovsky (concussion), Niclas Wallin (wrist surgery) and forward Josef Vasicek (knee surgery) ... Forward Chad Kilger, who scored his third goal last night, turns 29 tomorrow.