Leafs try to bounce back from horrid road trip vs. Hurricanes

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs were red-hot the last time they faced the Carolina Hurricanes, but a lot has changed in the month that has passed since.

The struggling Leafs try to bounce back from a horrid road trip on Monday evening when they host the Hurricanes.

Toronto had won six in a row before suffering a 4-1 loss at Carolina on Dec. 18. That setback came at the beginning of a current 3-12-0 rut for the Leafs, who have fired head coach Randy Carlyle over this span while falling seven points back of a wild card spot.

The Maple Leafs, who have been guided by interim coach Peter Horachek in the six games since Carlyle was fired, were shut out three times and held to one goal on a recent 0-4-0 road trip, capping the swing with Saturday's 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Jonathan Bernier allowed three goals on 33 shots in the road trip's finale, one that left the morale of the team "awful" according to captain Dion Phaneuf.

"It feels absolutely terrible," the defenseman said. "I don't know what more I can say than when you go through stretches like this, it's awful."

The Hurricanes have 12 fewer points than the Leafs, but have gone 5-2-1 in January and picked up a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Nathan Gerbe had the winning goal with 5:41 to play, snapping a 22-game goal drought with his first tally since Nov. 28.

Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist and Brad Malone also scored for the Hurricanes, while Anton Khudobin stopped 30 shots in the win.

"It was a good effort," said Carolina head coach Bill Peters. "Everyone played good, valuable minutes and we found a way."

Carolina kept Ottawa off the scoreboard on all three of its power-play chances and the Hurricanes have now killed off 33 straight power plays over a 13-game span.

The Hurricanes got short-handed goals from Faulk and Chris Terry in the win over the Maple Leafs a month ago, with Cam Ward making 25 saves. He is 15-9-2 versus the Maple Leafs with a 2.73 goals against average and .910 save percentage.

Phaneuf scored and Bernier made 33 saves as he fell to 2-3-0 versus the 'Canes with a 2.64 GAA and .923 save percentage.

Carolina has won seven of nine and 13 of its past 18 versus Toronto.