Helminen helps Hurricanes top Maple Leafs

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

“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.”

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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

“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