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Canes Outscore Leafs, 6-4

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The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 6-4 last night in a wild, rollercoaster ride at the RBC.

The game didn't quite start out the way that fans had envisioned. The Canes came out flat and Toronto was still sky high after their come from behind victory the previous night against the Rangers. The Leafs jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a shot from the slot by Ian White. The goal scorer seemed to have all night as he steadied the puck, readied himself, and still had time to get the open shot off for his first goal of the season.

The Canes were able to tie up the affair early in the second period on a lucky goal during a powerplay. Joe Corvo rifled a shot at net which bounced around and ended up going in the Leaf's net off of Toronto defenseman, Jeff Finger. It just goes to show that good things can happen when you put the puck on net.

Sergei Samsonov got his first point of the year on the play and Tuomo Ruutu should get some credit for creating traffic and screening the goalie.

The Leafs scored the next two goals, both by Mikhail Grabowski, before the wheels came off. After falling behind 3-1, the Hurricanes would score three goals in less than four minutes to close out the period with the lead.

The barrage started on the powerplay. Carolina had about 30 seconds of a 5 on 3 advantage but just when one of the penalized players was rejoining play, Rod Brind'Amour put a point blank shot on goalie Curtis Joseph. The rebound came out to Ray Whitney and the winger made no mistake.

About a minute later, Chad LaRose and Dwight Helminen were battling for a puck in front of Joseph. It looked like the rookie was knocked down, but he still was able to get his stick on the puck to chip it in past the Leaf's goalie. It was Helminen's first career NHL goal.

At this time the crowd was really getting into it and the players were feeding off the emotion. Tuomo Ruutu won a battle behind the net, skated around to the side, and fired the puck toward the goal. He was able to roof his shot over Joseph's shoulder to give the Hurricanes a lead they would never relinquish.

The period ended, 4-3 Canes.

The Hurricanes still were not finished though. Just one minute into the third period, LaRose and Helminen reversed roles and this time LaRose fired in a shot with the rookie's help.

Niklas Hagman scored another for the Leafs to make things interesting, but Eric Staal sealed the deal with an empty netter. The win gives the Hurricanes a 6-3-2 record and increases their division lead to three points.

The two teams meet again on Tuesday night, this time up in Toronto.

The good stuff-

The "Rat Recalls", Dwight Helminen and Pat Dwyer played very well for the Hurricanes. Both players were moved from line to line, although Helminen seemed to gel best with LaRose and Ruutu. Dwyer was a big help on the penalty kill.

The Canes only committed two penalties and the PK unit killed off both powerplays.

The players were eventually able to raise their intensity level to match their opponent's and after getting badly outplayed during early portions of the game, returned the favor late in the second period and at times during the third.

Not only did Helminen have a goal and an assist, he also had five hits, and finished with a "plus 3", best on the team. He was the first star of the game.

The Canes played a pretty physical game and finished with a total of 33 hits compared to Toronto's 21.

Carolina won 64% of the faceoffs.

According to the stat sheet, the team only had one giveaway, but had 15 takeaways.

The powerplay looked better and had some success.

The bad stuff-

Usually, falling behind 3-1 is not a formula for success.

The team was flat at times and was being outplayed by the Leafs early in the game. They only had one shot on goal until second half of the first period.

Other stuff-

Patrick Eaves left the game early because of illness. He only played a bit over five minutes.

Peter Laviolette said after the game that Matt Cullen is "day-to-day" and his status for the next game is unknown.

Sergei Samsonov and Rod Brind'Amour were both limping off the ice during the same line change at one point in the game, but both were able to return to action.

Eric Staal doesn't look like he is 100% and still seems to be favoring his shoulder.

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Here are a couple of interviews I was able to record after the game.

Chad LaRose speaks about the team's work ethic.

Dwight Helminen describes his first NHL goal.