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Canadian Press
1/9/2007 10:18:57 PM


TORONTO (CP) - The Carolina Hurricanes, inspired by a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame, bounced the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 Tuesday night.

When the Hurricanes signed autographs in the hockey shrine Monday afternoon, video showed them winning the Stanley Cup last June. Goaltender Cam Ward said he and his teammates got so pumped up that they wanted to rush to a rink and play a game right away.

They had to wait a day, but beating the Leafs was well worth the wait. Ward was outstanding with a 29-save effort and Scott Walker, Eric Belanger, Eric Staal and Justin Williams scored as the Hurricanes flashed championship form.

Bryan McCabe scored for the Leafs, and Andrew Raycroft made 26 saves.

The Leafs, already missing five forwards, lost Ian White in the second period when the defenceman injured his left shoulder.

The Hurricanes remained tied with Ottawa for fifth place in the NHL's Eastern Conference, while the Leafs fell out of the top eight - and they now face the toughest segment of their schedule with nine of their next 11 games on the road beginning Thursday in Buffalo.

McCabe's ninth goal of the season accounted for all the scoring in the first period. Alex Steen took a wild shot from a corner in the Carolina end and the puck struck Niclas Wallin's skate blade and slid into the middle of the zone. McCabe's slap shot buried the puck in a top corner of the net at 15:24.

During a two-man Carolina advantage two minutes later, a Rod Brind'Amour shot had Raycroft beaten but the puck struck a post.

Walker's 13th tied it 1:51 into the second period. Chad LaRose passed from the side of the net. The puck caromed off a stick and Walker swung at it as if he were a baseball player. He might have had a double had the net not stopped it.

Ben Ondrus was assessed a boarding penalty 33 seconds later when he hit Andrew Ladd from behind. Ladd was unhurt but it should have been a major penalty. Regardless, the Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead on the power play when Belanger deflected in a Brind'Amour slap shot at 2:51 for his eighth goal.

White was injured with five minutes left in the period when he crashed into a corner with LaRose as the two chased a puck.

Staal made it 3-1 at 18:17 when he ripped a slap shot past Raycroft for his 19th. The Leafs were again two men short.

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D:

Terrible game for the Leafs.
Can't blame them, eh.
Many Leafers out of our lineup.
Aka 5 of our top 9.
But no excuses.
It should have definitely been better than that.
 
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