TORONTO (AP) — Chad LaRose had a goal and two assists, Justin Peters stopped 32 shots and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 Tuesday night in the teams' first game since the break for the Vancouver Olympics.
LaRose returned to the lineup after missing the previous seven games before the break due to injury, and Peters was making just his third NHL start. He stopped every shot the Leafs threw his way until John Mitchell finally broke the shutout bid with 5 minutes to go in the third.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere was shaky in goal for Toronto, finishing with 25 saves.
With both teams struggling this season, it's expected they will be among the busier teams during Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.
Leafs left winger Alexei Ponikarovsky sat out Tuesday night, awaiting news on his future, while Carolina made healthy scratches of defenseman Aaron Ward and center Stephane Yelle. All three players are eligible for unrestricted free agency this July.
Carolina's Ray Whitney, another pending unrestricted free agent, showed why a contending club might covet his playmaking skills on Carolina's second goal, which came 46 seconds into the second. The slick forward found Jokinen streaking toward the Leafs net and Jokinen beat Giguere high.
Sutter was then left all alone in front of the Toronto goal and banged home a pass from LaRose to make it 3-0. Ruutu then converted a pass from Finnish Olympic teammate Pitkanen, and fired a shot high over Giguere's glove from the faceoff circle.
Carolina's first goal came less than 3 minutes into the first on a horrendous giveaway by Giguere. With his team on a power play, the Leafs goalie went behind his net to play a puck. When he failed to make a quick pass, LaRose closed quickly, stole the puck and sent it into the empty net.
Samsonov's third-period score was also a softie, as he squeezed a weak shot through Giguere from a sharp angle.
NOTES: F Jamie Lundmark played his first game with the Maple Leafs after the club claimed him on waivers from Calgary on Feb. 13. ... D Alexandre Picard, whom Carolina acquired in a trade with Ottawa before the Olympic break, made his Hurricanes debut. ... Eric Staal picked up an assist in his first game back with the Hurricanes since winning a gold medal with Canada's Olympic team.