Toronto at Carolina

Staal's four-point night fuels Hurricanes' rout of Leafs


RALEIGH, N.C. -- Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller wasn't sure how his team would respond after Tuesday's game at Buffalo was postponed by a blizzard.

With the way Carolina is playing right now, it is going to take more than a change in plans to throw off the Hurricanes' rhythm.

Jordan Staal had a goal and three assists, and Jeff Skinner extended his offensive surge with a goal and an assist to lead the Hurricanes to a 6-1 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

It was Carolina's fifth consecutive victory.

"That game canceled in Buffalo gave us an extra day or two of rest," Muller said. "I think it really helped us. We had fresh legs and everyone contributing."

John-Michael Liles, Patrick Dwyer, Zach Boychuk and Elias Lindholm also scored for the Hurricanes. Liles was playing against his former team for the first time -- Carolina sent defenseman Tim Gleason to Toronto for Liles on Jan. 1.

"It's just nice to be wanted and to feel like I have a place," Liles said. "It allows me to be confident and play my game. I think we have a great group of guys on the team -- they've welcomed me, and it's been a nice fit so far."

Skinner's goal was his 17th in his past 17 games, and he improved his point streak to a career-high six games, with seven goals and five assists in that stretch.

Lindholm had three points in his first game back with Carolina after playing for Sweden in the World Junior Championship.

Anton Khudobin made 25 saves for the Hurricanes to improve his record to 6-0-0. Khudobin missed more than two months earlier this season with an ankle injury.

"This game was, by far, the easiest game," Khudobin said.

Joffrey Lupul scored for the Maple Leafs. James Reimer made 30 saves.

Toronto has lost three in a row by a combined score of 18-5 after defeating Detroit in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

"We are standing still," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "We are watching teams skate. We are not engaged in the hockey game at the level that is required to give ourselves a chance at success."

The Hurricanes took immediate control of the game.

Boychuk opened the scoring 2:33 in, when his backhand shot deflected off the stick of Gleason and beat Reimer. It was Boychuk's first goal of the year.

The Hurricanes made it 2-0 exactly 6 minutes later following a long stretch of sustained pressure on the power play. The puck eventually got to Lindholm, who set up Staal for a one-timer in the slot. Reimer stopped that shot, but Skinner cleaned up the rebound.

Following lopsided losses to the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders in its previous two games, Toronto appeared lethargic for much of the night, but the Maple Leafs did manage to close the deficit to 2-1 a little less than 6 minutes after Skinner's goal.

Mason Raymond won the puck on the forecheck behind the Hurricanes net and centered to Lupul, who scored from the top of the crease.

Carolina reclaimed its two-goal lead with 2:27 left in the first period on Dwyer's goal. After another long stretch of offensive zone pressure, Dwyer scored when his wrist shot through traffic went through Reimer's legs.

"You've just got to find a way to make a save there to keep your team in it," Reimer said.

The Hurricanes then made the score 4-1 early in the second when Liles scored on a snap shot on a 3-on-1 break. It was the first goal for the defenseman since he was traded to Carolina.

Staal added a short-handed goal 25 seconds into the third period, and Lindholm finished the scoring with a 5-on-3 goal in the final 70 seconds.


Carolina played its second successive game without captain Eric Staal, who has a lower-body injury. ... The Hurricanes were playing for the first time since Sunday after Tuesday's game in Buffalo was postponed because of a blizzard. ... Gleason was honored with a video montage in the first period and received a hearty ovation from the crowd.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Carolina's Zach Boychuk exults after opening the scoring in the first period with his first goal of the season.  (USATSI)
Carolina's Zach Boychuk exults after opening the scoring in the first period with his first goal of the season. (USATSI)
Toronto (21-19-5)1001
Carolina  (19-16-9) «3126
Three Stars
J. Staal

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 3
E. Lindholm

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
Z. Boychuk

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
02:33 - Zach Boychuk (1), Backhand Shot. Assist: Sutter, Lindholm
08:33Power Play - Jeff Skinner (21), Tip-In. Assist: Staal, Lindholm
14:14 - Joffrey Lupul (14), Tip-In. Assist: Raymond, Kadri
17:33 - Patrick Dwyer (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Staal, Gerbe
03:39 - John-Michael Liles (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Boychuk
25.0Short - Jordan Staal (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Faulk
18:51Power Play - Elias Lindholm (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Skinner, Staal
Penalty Summary
06:54Kulemin, 2 min, Hooking
09:41Bozak, 2 min, Interference with goal tender.
11:42Fraser, 2 min, Cross Check
19:18Skinner, 2 min, Tripping
09:02Faulk, 5 min, Fighting
09:02Lupul, 5 min, Fighting
13:58Bellemore, 2 min, Interference
16:50Phaneuf, 4 min, Roughing
17:53Gleason, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
James Reimer60:00306
Anton Khudobin60:00251
Game Information
Attendance - 16583
Referees - Trevor Hanson, Kelly Sutherland
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Steve Barton
Other Games
Dal 0 Final
NJ 1
Fla 2 Final
Buf 1
Wash 4 Final
TB 3
Ana 4 Final
Nash 3
StL 5 Final
Cal 0
Min 4 Final
Pho 1
Det 1 Final
SJ 4
Bos 2 Final
LA 4