TORONTO -- Cam Ward gave up one goal on a big rebound in the first period.
And from that point, the game was his. He stopped 40 of 41 shots and the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Monday night before a crowd of 19,073 at Air Canada Centre.
"We had a tough start, but Cam gave us a chance to win tonight," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said. "He was great tonight. He made huge saves and kept us in the game and I thought in the second and third our guys obviously played much better and gave us a big win in Toronto."
Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said, "I think he made some big stops. He kept them in the game early in the hockey game. We had a lot of energy and we were really working and were creating offensive chances."
Jordan and Eric Staal, Justin Faulk and Patrick Dwyer scored for the Hurricanes, who took the lead with two second-period goals by the Staal brothers.
Matt Frattin scored for the Maple Leafs, who took a 1-0 lead out of the first period but dropped to 1-4 at home this season.
"You come home and this is the place you want to win," said Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer, who stopped 35 of 39 shots. "I'm not quite sure what the reason is. I don't think anybody does have the reason. It's a million-dollar question and we don't like it. We don't like it one bit.
"This is where we want to win, this is where it matters. I mean it matters on the road too, but it's not acceptable right now."
Before the Hurricanes drew away with a fourth goal, Ward was strong during a Toronto power play near the midpoint of the third period and the Leafs lost hope of climbing back into the game.
"I felt really comfortable at the start of the game," Ward said. "I expected they were going to throw a lot of shots at the net and I had to be ready. It took a little bit to get our legs, but to walk into that first intermission down one we really took over the second. We were able to get our feet moving and capitalize on some opportunities."
After taking a 2-1 lead out of the second period, Carolina started the third period with a two-man advantage after two Toronto penalties late in the second. The Hurricanes made it pay off 43 seconds into the third when Faulk scored his second goal of the season. A video review showed the puck had crossed the goal line, just getting past Reimer, who was making his fifth consecutive start.
"In the first couple of shifts of the second period, we turned the puck over at the offensive blue line and it started to deteriorate then," Carlyle said. "Then we started to play a lot more in the defensive zone. We played that game where we played defense and threw it out into the neutral zone, changed, and here they came again.
"And on faceoffs we didn't do a very good job of blocking out and retrieving pucks and we let them jump through at times and the momentum went in their favor."
Carolina took a three-goal lead at 9:58 of the third period when Dwyer put a wrist shot past Reimer for his third goal of the season.
The Hurricanes (4-4-0), who were fortunate to escape the first period down only 1-0, tied the score at 1:21 of the second period on the first goal of the season by Jordan Staal on a backhand. The Leafs (4-5-0) were caught off guard when icing was called off and Staal was left alone in front of the goal when the puck came out to him from the corner.
"We knew that it was going to come in time and I didn't realize they were going to leave him alone in front of the net for that long and he made a nice move," said Eric Staal, who is Jordan's older brother. "It was nice for him to get that first one out of the way and continue to play his game."
Eric Staal gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 10:21. Staal's seventh goal of the season was a pass in front of the goal that went in off the skate of Leafs defenseman Mike Kostka. Leafs forward Jay McClement had been given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 9:41.
But the short-handed Leafs had the first opportunity on the Carolina power play after the puck hit referee Marc Joannette in face as it came out of Toronto's end. Ward made the save on Nikolai Kulemin, who broke in on him.
Joannette went off for treatment for a few minutes before returning and the game continued while he was off with one referee. He was back by the time Tyler Bozak put the puck into the net for the Maple Leafs at 18:44. It was called no goal after a video review determined that he had kicked the puck into the net from the edge of the crease.
NOTES: The Hurricanes were playing the second game of a six-game trip. They lost the irst game to the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday. Their next game is Thursday against the Ottawa Senators. ... With the goal on Monday, Eric Staal has at least a point in six consecutive games. ... The Maple Leafs were finishing a three-game homestand. They go on the road for three games starting Tuesday at Washington. ... Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu (hip) remains out. ... Forward Andreas Nodl and defenseman Joe Corvo were Carolina scratches on Monday. ... The Maple Leafs recalled defenseman Korbinian Holzer from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL and winger Ryan Hamilton to the Marlies. ... Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (hip), defenseman Mike Komisarek (eye) and forward David Steckel were the Toronto scratches. Gunnarsson had an MRI. "There's no muscular tear," Carlyle said Monday morning. "There's nothing other than irritation there. It's been something that's been bothering him for a while. But we feel like it'll settle down."