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Curtis McElhinney, Maple Leafs shut out Hurricanes

Toronto goalie makes 37 saves, Connor Brown scores twice in win at Carolina

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Curtis McElhinney made 37 saves, and Connor Brown scored twice to help the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Sunday.

McElhinney, making his fifth start for Toronto since being claimed on waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 10, earned his fifth career shutout with a variety of outstanding saves, particularly in the first two periods.

Jake Gardiner had a goal and two assists, and James van Riemsdyk had two assists for Toronto (27-20-11), which avoided a three-game losing streak and moved one point ahead of the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division.

 

WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Hurricanes highlights

 

The Maple Leafs were coming off a 6-3 home loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

"Just a good team win, starting with our goalie who played a heck of a game," said Gardiner, who was plus-4. "Back-to-backs haven't been our strong suit and we proved ourselves and went out there and won."

Carolina (24-23-8) has lost four straight (0-3-1).

Brown gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 1:07 of the second period with his 13th of the season. Brown won a race to the net against Noah Hanifin to redirect van Riemsdyk's pass from the left boards.

Video: McElhinney earns Sunday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Auston Matthews made it 2-0 at 9:53 with a highlight-reel goal. Matthews carried the puck off from the offensive and held off Phillip Di Giuseppe before losing his balance and backhanding the puck between Cam Ward's legs.

"You just try to make the best play you can," said Matthews, who has 28 goals. "I had a good amount of speed going into it to carry me to the net, then I just tried to sneak it in there. A pretty lucky play, I guess."

Gardiner made it 3-0 with a wrist shot from the left point through a screen at 6:10 of the third period.

Brown's second of the game was almost a replica of his first, when he drove the net and took a pass from van Riemsdyk for a 4-0 lead at 8:09.

Eddie Lack relieved Ward in goal with 10:58 remaining. Ward allowed four goals on 24 shots. Lack made seven saves.

"We had a few chances and couldn't get one," Hurricanes forward Lee Stempniak said. "We let the frustration get to us. Once it was 4-0, we sort of stopped playing and lost our identity. It turned out to be a pretty embarrassing end of the game for us."

 

Goal of the game

Brown's second goal began with an end-to-end rush where he beat three defenders before finishing a give-and-go with van Riemsdyk.

Video: TOR@CAR: Brown finishes feed from JVR for second goal

 

Save of the game

With 9:50 left in the second period, McElhinney fought off Teuvo Teravainen in the low slot before stopping Jeff Skinner's backhand, a rebound by Di Giuseppe and finally another backhand from Skinner.

Video: TOR@CAR: McElhinney controls the scramble in front

 

Highlight of the game

Matthews goal will be replayed again and again. Gardiner started the playing behind the Toronto net, taking a peek up ice before sending a long pass up the boards. "I just saw a line change from [Carolina], and when you see Auston Matthews breaking, you just try to give him the puck," Gardiner said. "That was impressive. Just the strength while he was falling to score that goal."

Video: TOR@CAR: Matthews pots fantastic goal while falling

 

Unsung performance of the game

Toronto gave up 31 shots through two periods, but held Carolina to six shots in the third with active sticks in the defensive zone.

 

They said it

"Sometimes that's the way back-to-backs work out. Carolina is a team that like to throw a lot of pucks on net. For the most part the guys were doing a good job in front, in terms of taking sticks away. If guys are just banging pucks into my pads, that's fine because they don't have enough time to lift it up and over me. That's the most important thing." -- Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis McElhinney

 

"I thought we were fine through 20 [minutes] and then through 40. I thought we could have been on the board, but we weren't. And then the third [goal] took a lot of the wind out of our sails." -- Hurricanes coach Bill Peters

 

Need to know

Toronto is 5-8-1 in the second game of back-to-backs. ... McElhinney's hadn't had a shutout since Jan. 2, 2014, with the Columbus Blue Jackets. ... Di Giuseppe, promoted from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Sunday, had a game-high seven shots. ... Skinner tied Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis for 10th place on Carolina's all-time games played list with 472.

 

What's next

Maple Leafs: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN3, TSN4, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, SNO, ROOT, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

 

Video: McElhinney, Brown put on show as Leafs blank 'Canes

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