Staal, Khudobin lead Hurricanes to win over Maple Leafs

Two of Eric Staal's six shots on goal found the back of the net against Toronto.

TORONTO — Eric Staal scored twice and Anton Khudobin stopped 34 shots to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Brad Malone and Elias Lindholm also scored for the Hurricanes, who improved to 6-2-1 this month.

Nazem Kadri scored with 5:11 remaining to end Khudobin’s shutout bid and end Toronto’s scoring drought at 162:14. The Maple Leafs, back home after a winless four-game trip, have lost five straight and fell to 1-6-0 under interim coach Peter Horachek.

The Hurricanes controlled play against the Leafs, chasing starting goalie Jonathan Bernier after he gave up Staal’s first goal in the opening minute of the second period. Bernier gave up three goals on 13 shots, and was replaced by James Reimer — who stopped all 18 shots he faced.

Staal capped the scoring with an empty-netter with 1:34 remaining in the game.

Malone gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead 7:06 into the game. Patrick Dwyer’s shot from the right wing went off Bernier’s pads and right to Malone, who fired the puck into a wide-open net.

Just 41 seconds later, the Leafs were caught flat-footed when Phil Kessel’s pass attempt off a faceoff deflected off Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera to Lindholm, who finished off the breakaway by beating Bernier to make it 2-0.

David Clarkson, who had no points in the past 10 games and just two in the past 20, tried to fire up the Maple Leafs by fighting Malone. It didn’t seem to work.

Not long after, it looked like the Hurricanes had a three-goal lead, but Jordan Staal’s goal was disallowed on what was called "incidental contact" on former Leafs forward Jiri Tlusty.

After killing off a high-sticking penalty on Tlusty that lasted into the second period, the Hurricanes let their top line of the Staal brothers and Tlusty go to work. Jordan found brother Eric wide open in front, and Carolina’s captain went back-hand to beat Bernier 48 seconds into the period.

Kadri snapped the Leafs’ drought late in the third and his power-play goal also ended the Hurricanes’ run of consecutive penalties killed at 36 over 14-plus games.