A game against the Maple Leafs seemed to get the Carolina Hurricanes' struggling offense back on track. The Hurricanes hope to get another strong offensive effort when the teams meet again in Toronto.
Carolina looks to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly four weeks and sweep a home-and-home series over the Maple Leafs Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.
The Hurricanes (6-3-2) entered Sunday's game against Toronto (5-4-3) with just four goals in their previous three contests, but erupted for three scores in a span of less than 4 minutes during the second period. Carolina scored four goals overall in the second, turning a 3-1 deficit into an eventual 6-4 victory.
"Once we got (the first goal), it didn't seem like we were going to stop until the game was ours," said Hurricanes left wing Chad LaRose, who had a goal and an assist.
Tuomo Ruutu, Dwight Helminen, Ray Whitney and Eric Staal also each had a goal and an assist for Carolina, which matched its highest scoring game of 2008-09 - a 6-4 victory over Florida in the Oct. 10 season opener. The Hurricanes opened the season with back-to-back wins, but haven't won two in a row since.
Carolina also finally managed to get some offense from its power-play unit, scoring three times in six chances with the man advantage Sunday after going 2-for-37 on the power play over the previous eight games.
"We actually started to create some things," said Whitney, who has scored in each of his last two games and has four goals and seven assists in his last eight meetings with Toronto. "We weren't just standing around, and I think that was our attitude adjustment."
The Hurricanes have totaled 23 goals while winning four of their last five games against the Maple Leafs.
After Carolina backup goaltender Michael Leighton made 29 saves Sunday, starter Cam Ward is expected to be back in net for this game.
Ward won both of his starts against the Leafs last season while compiling a 1.46 goals-against average.
For Toronto, Sunday's loss was just its second in the last six games. Niklas Hagman's goal at 8:44 of the third period pulled the Leafs within one, but Staal's empty-netter with 22 seconds left in the game sealed the win for Carolina.
"We're in every game. We're one shot away or one save away," said backup goalie Curtis Joseph, winless in three outings this season.
Vesa Toskala is expected to start in goal for the Leafs on Tuesday after getting the day off in Carolina. Toskala is 4-1-0 with a 2.77 GAA in his last five games overall, but is 1-3-2 with a 3.82 GAA in six career games versus the Hurricanes.
Toronto and Carolina have split their last four meetings at the Air Canada Centre, where the Leafs are 2-2-2 this season.