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Ward, Hurricanes flatten fading Leafs

Mar 28, 2012 - 3:18 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Cam Ward turned away 32 shots to record his fifth shutout of the season, as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-0, on Tuesday at Air Canada Centre.

Jussi Jokinen had a goal and an assist, while Tim Brent and Jay Harrison scored and Tuomo Ruutu chipped in with two assists for the Hurricanes, who have won five of their last seven games.

"We got off to a really good start," Ward said. "In that first period, we carried the majority of the play. It was a solid 60-minute game for us."

Jonas Gustavsson was touched for all three goals on 12 shots before getting pulled early in the second period. Jussi Rynnas stopped all 10 shots he faced in relief. The Maple Leafs have lost seven of their last 10 contests.

Carolina opened the scoring at 13:05 of the first period after Ruutu picked up the puck in neutral ice and knifed his way to the slot. He dropped it off for Jokinen, who cut to his backhand and flipped a shot on goal that fooled Gustavsson to the stick side.

The Hurricanes made it 2-0 with 1:43 left in the first period when Derek Joslin flew through the neutral zone with speed and sent a quick right wing feed to the tape of Brent, who snapped a wrist shot past the glove of Gustavsson from the right circle.

The Carolina advantage grew to 3-0 just 37 seconds into the second period when Jokinen threw a cross-ice pass to Harrison on the left wing. Harrison looked up and snapped off a weak shot from a sharp angle that got past Gustavsson to the glove side.

Ward stopped five shots in the first frame, 12 in the second, and 15 shots in the third period to keep the struggling Leafs off the scoreboard. Toronto also failed to score on both of its power-play chances.

"I was disappointed with the way we turned the puck over in the neutral zone in the first period," Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said. "Consequently, we let the opposition dictate the transition game against us."

Game Notes

Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer missed the game with an upper body injury and Ryanns was recalled on an emergency basis...Ward improved to 12-8-2 with two shutouts in 22 career games against Toronto...It was Ward's 21st career shutout...The Hurricanes also went 0-for-2 with the man advantage...The Leafs will visit Philadelphia on Thursday, while the Hurricanes will host the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.