Helminen helps Hurricanes top Maple Leafs - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Helminen helps Hurricanes top Maple Leafs

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RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Dwight Helminen had a goal

and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes scored four times in

the second period en route to a 6-4 triumph over the Toronto

Maple Leafs on Sunday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Chad LaRose and Tuomo Ruutu also both scored a goal and set up

another and defenseman Joe Corvo and Ray Whitney each netted

power-play goals for Carolina, which improved to 3-1-1 in its

last five games.

Eric Staal added an empty-net tally with 22 seconds remaining in

the third period and Michael Leighton finished with 29 saves for

the Hurricanes, who will visit Toronto on Tuesday.

"You know what, I thought in the second half we came alive,"

Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We started skating

better. We generate offense. We were pressing down in the

offensive zone. We picked up a little better defensively. That

was the difference. It usually is.

"You know, we've talked about it before - energy and execution.

We found energy in the building and we able run with it there

for 25 or 30 minutes."

Mikhail Grabovski had a pair of tallies, Niklas Hagman had a

goal and an assist and Ian White netted his first tally of the

season for the Maple Leafs, who fell to 4-2-0 in their last six

games.

"You know, you're not got to have the same energy level in a

game like this, second in 24 hours," Toronto coach Ron Wilson

said. "I thought we were doing a great job. Two or three minutes

into the second period, we had a two-goal lead, then a couple of

bad penalties and that pretty much did it."

Playing in just his fourth game since being recalled due to the

injury of rookie Brandon Sutter, Helminen scored his first NHL

goal with 2:43 remaining in the second period to tie the contest

at 3-3.

"I think I've shown I can compete at this level and make some

plays," Helminen said. "And I've just got to continue doing the

little things and making things happen."

After Ruutu gave the Hurricanes the lead with 30 seconds left in

the session, Helminen assisted on LaRose's tally just 75 seconds

into the third.

"They're both really good players, and it's always fun to play

with good players," Ruutu said of Helminen and LaRose. "All

four lines, we started working together and we started

forechecking with five guys. After we started doing our

forecheck with the five guys, that's the way we got pucks and

that's the way we got opportunities as well. "

Grabovski scored twice in under four minutes to give Toronto a

3-1 advantage midway through the second period.

"I feel much better especially when I feel the confidence from

the coach," Grabovski said.

Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs, the defense broke down and

goaltender Curtis Joseph couldn't keep the Hurricanes off the

board.

"It was the second period that lost us the game, I guess," said

Joseph, who finished with 24 saves. "It just a couple of tough

bounces, too. It is a game of inches sometimes. Unfortunately,

it didn't go our way tonight. We had the momentum last night

and won the game and lost it tonight on that very same

momentum."

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