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(Sunday, December 29th)
Final Score: Toronto 5, Carolina 2
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Phil Kessel scored twice in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 5-2 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes from Air Canada Centre.
Nikolai Kulemin, Paul Ranger and Dion Phaneuf also lit the lamp for Toronto, which won its second straight tilt. The Leafs had split four consecutive shootouts prior to Sunday's win in regulation.
Jonathan Bernier saw a lot of action, turning away 41-of-43 shots to earn the win.
"I had a good practice yesterday," said Bernier. "Coming back after three days I felt like I was ready to see some shots and get back in the groove. I felt pretty good."
Nathan Gerbe and Justin Faulk scored for the Hurricanes, and Cam Ward surrendered four goals on 26 shots to absorb the loss.
Kessel had the lone goal of the first period when he flipped a backhand from behind the net off of Ward's pad and into the back of the net.
"We know they are a deep team, especially off the rush they are fast," said Gerbe. "They make good plays so it was something we wanted to avoid."
Gerbe tied the score at a goal apiece 1:36 into the second period on a nifty feed from Alexander Semin.
Kessel scored again at 13:42 after receiving a pass from James van Riemsdyk on a 2-on-1 rush. A minute later, Kulemin made it 3-1 in favor of Toronto with a blast from above the left circle.
Faulk got one back to make it 3-2 late in the second. Carolina went on a 4- on-3 power-play and Andrej Sekera ripped a shot from the left side that deflected off Faulk and past Bernier.
Ranger's tally 4:58 into the third provided some insurance for Bernier, who stopped all 15 shots he faced in the final period to put the game away. Phaneuf scored an empty-netter with 7.1 seconds remaining for the final margin.
The Hurricanes won the first meeting on Oct. 17, 3-2, in Toronto ... The Leafs head on the road to face the Red Wings on New Years Day ... Carolina has lost five in a row and eight of nine.
12/30 01:25:29 ET