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Hurricanes snap Maple Leafs' four-game winning streak with 3-1 victory

The SportsXchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jussi Jokinen needed a little time to get warmed up this season and now the Carolina Hurricanes left wing might be falling into a groove.

Jokinen has scored in consecutive games, with his go-ahead goal Thursday night leading to a 3-1 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at sold-out PNC Arena.

"With lots of players, that's how it goes," Jokinen said. "When it's a good stretch, it's a good stretch."

Jokinen, Joe Corvo and Jordan Staal scored in Carolina's three-goal second period as the Hurricanes won their third game in a row and their fifth in their last six outings.

"With games coming so close to another (in the schedule), you can't have the same guys be the heroes every night," said Carolina coach Kirk Muller, whose team played its fourth game in six days.

That's among the reasons the spark from Jokinen is so vital to the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes, who stopped Toronto's four-game winning streak.

Jokinen, who was scoreless in the first 11 games, scored the team's second goal on Carolina power play.

"Just keep shooting the puck and good things will happen," said Jokinen, an eight-year NHL veteran. "I've played long enough in this league to know I'm a good player."

Dan Ellis was back in goal for the Hurricanes after five-game absence while Cam Ward went 4-0-1 during that span. Ellis stopped 22 shots.

Corvo, who was a healthy scratch 10 nights earlier when the Hurricanes won in Toronto, lifted a shot past goalie Ben Scrivens slightly more than six minutes into the second period. He benefitted from the attention given teammate Eric Staal, who was knocked down near the crease as he battled for the puck. When the puck popped out of the scrum, Corvo was alone for a shot.

"It goes right to their guy's stick," Scrivens said.

The Maple Leafs were quick to respond when Nazem Kadri redirected defenseman Dion Phaneuf's power-play slapshot.

After Jokinen's tally, Jordan Staal scored off a rebound of Jeff Skinner's breakaway shot for a two-goal edge.

By the end, the first game back home after six consecutive road games was a success for the Hurricanes.

"It's fun to come back after a long road trip," Skinner said. "That's what we're going for, to stick with the game plan the whole way through."

Toronto has failed to score more than one goal in any of its last three losses, two of those coming to the Hurricanes. The Maple Leafs were unbeaten since the Feb. 4 meeting with Carolina.

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said he never sensed his team really got much going this time. Scrivens tried to do his part.

"I thought I made some big saves, especially early on and on the 5-on-3 early in the third," Scrivens said. "They definitely made it difficult on us."

Eric Staal's assist on the first goal stretched the captain's points streak to 11 games.

Scrivens had 30 saves.

NOTES: Toronto goalie James Reimer is on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in the second period of team's previous game Monday night againstPhiladelphia. Goaltender Jussi Rynnas was recalled from the Toronto Marlies and was the backup Thursday night. ... Carolina RW Chad LaRose missed his first game of the season. He was a healthy scratch after managing one goal without an assist so far this season. ... The Hurricanes also were without injured defenseman Tim Gleason (lower body) and defenseman Joni Pitkanen (lower body), who both played in all 12 previous games. Defenseman Michal Jordan, 22, was called up from Charlotte of the AHL to make his NHL debut. ... This was the Hurricanes' first game since a six-game road trip that produced nine points. ... Toronto RW Colton Orr and Carolina RW Kevin Westgarth picked up fighting majors barely more than two minutes into the game.
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