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WATCH: Joffrey Lupul's end-to-end rush leads to game-winning goal

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

More NHL: Scores | Standings | Odds | Fight-O-Meter | League Leaders | Rumors

The Toronto Maple Leafs used a four-goal third period to knock off the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 on Thursday night to earn a huge two points in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The game was still tied with less than four minutes to play, and that was when Joffrey Lupul took over and went on this incredible end-to-end rush to score what proved to be the game-winning goal.

The question: Is this goal more the result of an incredible rush by Lupul or some really bad defense by the Hurricanes? Probably a little from column A, and a little from column B.

One thing is for sure: That play isn't going on Joe Corvo's personal highlight reel.

The win gives Toronto 42 points this season, and the Maple Leafs currently sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. It was a huge win if for no other reason than Carolina is one of the teams chasing the Maple Leafs at the bottom of the playoff race and this gives them a seven-point lead over the Hurricanes and Islanders, the teams currently sitting in ninth and 10th.

It's probably too early to start printing playoff tickets, but the Maple Leafs have given themselves a great opportunity to end what is currently the longest playoff drought in the NHL.

If nothing else, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to get just a little bit brighter. Hopefully for Maple Leafs fans, that light isn't a freight train just waiting to crush them.

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