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Hurricanes storm past Maple Leafs

TORONTO — This win seemed like the ones the Carolina Hurricanes enjoyed during their run to the Stanley Cup title two seasons ago.

After missing the playoffs the year after winning the Cup, the Hurricanes have their sights set on a more successful season.

Matt Cullen scored for the first time since returning to the Hurricanes, and six others added goals in Carolina's 7-1 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

Cullen, traded back to Carolina during the summer after one season with the New York Rangers, scored a power-play goal that gave the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead in the second period.

Justin Williams, Cory Stillman, Ray Whitney, Scott Walker, Jeff Hamilton and Eric Staal also scored against goalie Vesa Toskala. Williams, Stillman, Cullen and Rod Brind'Amour each had two assists.

"When we won, everything was easy, and when we lost it was a battle," Stillman said. "You could see it on our faces when you watch video of last year.

"Guys were dragging through the season. But now we're excited to be back. We're a stronger team. Everybody is healthy and ready to play."

Bryan McCabe scored the only Toronto goal with an assist from Mats Sundin, who earned his 916th point with the Maple Leafs and moved into a tie with Darryl Sittler for the club record.

That was long forgotten once Carolina scored seven consecutive goals.

"It was a flat effort by the whole group and that's it," Sundin said. "Really, there's no excuses to have an effort like that.

"It's not like we're in the middle of a tough schedule. We just weren't good and that's the bottom line. It was bad, it was frustrating."