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Ice Hockey - Toronto Avoids Cut From Stanley Cup - 2002-05-26

The Toronto Maple Leafs have avoided elimination from the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup playoffs, while the defending champion Colorado Avalanche has evened up its series in the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.

Toronto goaltender Curtis Joseph stopped 27 shots in North Carolina Saturday, as the Leafs shut-out the Hurricanes 1-0 on a goal from Darcy Tucker. That improved Toronto's record to 4-0 when they're facing elimination, but Carolina still leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals series three games to two. Game six will be played in Toronto on Tuesday.

In Denver, the Colorado Avalanche built a two-goal lead in the third period, then held on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in Game Four of their series. With the game tied at 1-1, Joe Sakic gave Colorado the lead with a goal 45 seconds into the third period. Chris Drury made it 3-1 with around three minutes left in the game.

But Detroit fought back furiously. With time winding down, the Red Wings pulled goalkeeper Dominik Hasek and Brett Hull scored to cut the Avalanche lead to 3-2. But Colorado, behind 31 saves from goalie Patrick Roy, held on to win. The series is now tied at 2-2, with Game Five of the series Monday night in Detroit.