RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes started fast and finished fast, which was more than enough to snap the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four-game winning streak with a 5-2 win in Raleigh on Wednesday.
On Thanksgiving Eve, the Canes had a first-period feast, peppering Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen with 29 shots on goal, the most they’ve shot in a single period since relocating to North Carolina.
The Hurricanes broke through with a pair of first-period goals, 22 seconds apart. Trevor van Riemsdyk scored first, firing a rebound into the left side of the net while Andersen was still flat on the ice after making a save.
The review of the goal, to make sure Carolina wasn’t guilty of goaltender interference, took longer than the time until the next score. Less than half a minute after play resumed, Justin Williams scored for the second straight game, his 100th goal as a Hurricane.
Much like Thanksgiving diners, after the early feeding frenzy, the Canes appeared to settle in for a mid-game nap. Carolina managed just two shots in the second period, although they were able to keep the Leafs off the board as well, clinging to a 2-1 lead.
“We had a great first period,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Not so great second. … We just didn’t play the same way. We had some good kills, but the two penalties took the flow right out of our kind of game.”
The Canes woke up for the final period, scoring three times in the third — including to into Toronto’s empty net — to pull away from Toronto. Micheal Ferland netted the first insurance goal, scoring his team-high eleventh goal on a pass from Teuvo Teravainen.
Acquired in the same offseason trade that brought Dougie Hamilton to the Canes, Ferland couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to his Carolina career.
“Coming here, obviously I wanted to have a good start,” he said. “We’ve been doing good.”
“We knew what we were getting,” Brind’Amour said of Ferland. “We knew he brings that element we didn’t have. We knew he could score, but we didn’t anticipate he’d have 11 goals this early. But he’s been what we thought we were getting.”
Goaltender Curtis McElhinney has also been as good as expected. The 35-year-old 12-year NHL veteran was waived by Toronto in October and picked up by the Hurricanes. He got a bit of revenge against his old team, tallying 30 saves in the win.
“He’s been great for us,” Ferland said. “It all starts from back there. We just keep battling in front of him, keep grinding, keep building something here.”
“Coming in, he’s been solid,” Brind’Amour said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He left his family. I think he’s still staying in a hotel. It sucks for him. He’s a professional. There’s a reason why a guy lasts that long.”
The scoring outburst, in front of McElhinney, helped the Canes answer the challenge in the third period.
“We played really well,” Brind’Amour said. “We got the lead and did it right. … I like the way we competed in the third. We went after it.”
The Canes also got some good news with the return of Victor Rask, who missed the first 20 games of the season after slicing his hand in an offseason kitchen accident. He had two shots in 10 and a half minutes of play.
“He looked great,” Brind’Amour said. He didn’t play much, but the shifts he had were productive. I think we’ll ease him in a little bit, but he looks like right where he needs to be. Tonight was a good step in the right direction.”
The Canes return to the ice on Friday to host the Florida Panthers.