It wasn't the revenge Paul Maurice envisioned against his former team. Jason Blake, however, reveled in the reunion.
Blake recorded a career high five-point night as the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the Carolina Hurricanes, 6-4, in Raleigh Thursday. Blake had a hat trick to go along with two helpers as the Leafs ended a four-game losing streak.
Maurice was meeting Toronto for the first time since being given the boot a year ago by interim GM Cliff Fletcher.
Blake, meanwhile, was facing his bygone coach after spending the majority of last season in Paul's proverbial doghouse.
The two clearly did not see eye to eye a year ago.
Before the game, Maurice told reporters he hoped the Leafs never won another game for 10 years, still a little bitter for being let go.
Toronto blue liner Tomas Kaberle scored the decisive goal on a four-on-three power play with 5:25 remaining in the third period. He took a cross-ice feed from defensive partner Pavel Kubina and blasted a riser through the glove of Carolina goalie Cam Ward, who had a shaky night inside the 'Canes cage.
The Kaberle goal ended a furious comeback by Carolina, who roared back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game in the third.
Hurricane forward Scott Walker evened the match at 4-4, when he backhanded a rebound underneath Leafs net minder Vesa Toskala at 8:40.
Matt Cullen, Tuomo Ruutu, and Eric Staal also scored for Carolina, who dropped their fourth game in row. Besides the efforts of Blake and Kaberle, Toronto got goal contributions from Ian White and Niklas Hagman.
Toronto is in Atlanta today to play the Thrashers, before going home for a return engagement against Maurice and the Hurricanes on Monday.
No doubt there will be a mixed reaction from Leafs fans when Maurice is re-introduced as coach of the visiting team.
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