The Carolina Hurricanes took a slightly different approach to their first home game following a 12-day road trip.

Treat it like one last road game.

Apparently, it worked. The Canes, 4-1-1 on the trip, returned to PNC Arena on Thursday to top the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1.

A time-honored hockey adage is that a team often is sluggish after a long spell on the road -- that it more or less exhales, enjoys the creature comforts of home and often doesn't play well. But after a scoreless first period, the Canes (8-4-1) got second-period goals from resurgent Joe Corvo and Jussi Jokinen, and a third from Jordan Staal to take control of the game.

"That's a common trend (and) the coaches did a really good job of addressing that in our meetings," said Canes goalie Dan Ellis, who got the start and earned his third win. "They constantly made us aware that, 'Guys, it's almost like an extra road game. Let's approach it with the mentality you want to finish the road trip strong, even though you're at home.'

"That's what we did. We gave a good push and got a good win against a hot team."

The Leafs (8-6-0) had won four straight and were 6-1 on the road this season. But other than Nazem Kadri's power-play goal in the second period, off a tip, they couldn't find a way to get anything else past Ellis.

The Hurricanes played without defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason, both out with lower-body injuries. Carolina coach Kirk Muller also made veteran forward Chad LaRose a healthy scratch.

But defenseman Michal Jordan, recalled Thursday from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, stepped in and was solid in his NHL debut. So were the others on the Canes' back end.

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