They came out of it with a most unexpected win.
Justin Faulk had a goal and assist, and the Hurricanes carried play all the way Thursday night in a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs.
Carolina (9-19-3) snapped its six-game losing streak in which the Hurricanes had scored exactly one goal per game. The Hurricanes' offensive outburst also broke the Maple Leafs' six-game winning streak.
Chris Terry, Andrej Sekera — who tallied his first of the season — and Elias Lindholm scored the other Carolina goals. Nathan Gerbe and Eric Staal both had a pair of assists.
Despite its struggles, Carolina has had success against Toronto — going 19-7-1 in the past 27 meetings.
"We finally got on the board and played with a lead, which made it a little easier," first-year Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "I liked our third period in Montreal (in a 4-1 loss Tuesday night) except for the last five minutes, and it was probably a continuation of that.
"We've got some guys from Ontario, and I know any time you're playing an Original Six team it's special. It just is."
Cam Ward had 25 saves for Carolina. Toronto's Jonathan Bernier stopped 33 shots.
The Hurricanes played a few hours after trading defenceman Jay Harrison to Winnipeg for a 2015 sixth-round draft pick.
"We got outworked. It's as simple as that," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "We didn't do enough to give ourselves a chance, and when we finally got back into the hockey game we took ourselves out with some undisciplined acts.
"I don't think we were mentally ready to go out and play the type of game that was required. Simple as that."
Carolina dominated the first period and led 2-0 at the break after taking a 17-9 shots advantage.
Terry got Carolina on the board at 11:54, taking Staal's pass that went from the left boards into the crease and putting it past Bernier.
"I thought we started well," Staal said. "We were ready to go, and obviously the first goal was big When you score a first goal in this league it can really be in your favour."
Carolina doubled the lead on a short-handed rush at 13:43 when Faulk took Patrick Dwyer's cross-ice pass in the right circle and banged it by Bernier's glove.
"It's huge any time you can get off to a good start," Faulk said. "We were ready to go from the beginning. When you're like that you can usually jump on teams and swing things in your favour."
Phaneuf made it 2-1 at 16:55 of the second, firing a shot just under the crossbar from the left point.
But Sekera sent a drive over Bernier's left shoulder during a power play at 11:05 of the third.
Faulk became the first Hurricanes defenceman with two short-handed goals in a season since Mike Commodore did it in the 2006-07 campaign.
Faulk has three short-handed goals in 211 career games.
NOTES: Carolina's next game is at home on Saturday against the New York Rangers. ... Toronto will play Philadelphia at home on Saturday. ... Carolina C Jiri Tlusty (upper body) missed his third straight game. Hurricanes D John-Michael Liles (upper body) sat out his second consecutive. ... Toronto C Leo Komarov (concussion) sat out his ninth straight. D Korbinian Holzer was a healthy scratch. ... Toronto C Peter Holland played in his 100th NHL game. ... Staal has 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 36 games against Toronto.