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Staal, Hurricanes beat Maple Leafs 6-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm •  Published: January 9, 2014
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller wasn't sure how his team would respond after Tuesday's game at Buffalo was postponed by a blizzard.

With the way Carolina is playing right now, it is going to take more than a change in plans to throw off the Hurricanes' rhythm.

Jordan Staal had a goal and three assists, and Jeff Skinner extended his offensive surge with a goal and an assist to lead the Hurricanes to a 6-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

It was Carolina's fifth consecutive win.

"That game canceled in Buffalo gave us an extra day or two of rest," Muller said. "I think it really helped us. We had fresh legs and everyone contributing."

John-Michael Liles, Patrick Dwyer, Zach Boychuk and Elias Lindholm also scored for the Hurricanes. Liles was playing against his former team for the first time — Carolina sent defenseman Tim Gleason to Toronto for Liles on Jan. 1.

"It's just nice to be wanted and to feel like I have a place," Liles said. "It allows me to be confident and play my game. I think we have a great group of guys on the team — they've welcomed me, and it's been a nice fit so far."

Skinner's goal was his 17th in his last 17 games, and he improved his point streak to a career-high six games, with seven goals and five assists in that stretch.

Lindholm had three points in his first game back with Carolina after playing for Sweden in the World Junior Championship.

Anton Khudobin made 25 saves for the Hurricanes to improve his record to 6-0-0. Khudobin missed more than two months earlier this season with an ankle injury.

"This game was, by far, the easiest game," Khudobin said.

Joffrey Lupul scored for the Maple Leafs. James Reimer made 30 saves.

Toronto has lost three in a row by a combined score of 18-5 after defeating Detroit in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

"We are standing still," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "We are watching teams skate. We are not engaged in the hockey game at the level that is required to give ourselves a chance at success."

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