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Leafs @ Canes: Live Blog and Open Thread

Toronto Maple Leafs (11-7-2) at Carolina Hurricanes (6-11-3)

Sunday, Nov 20, 2011, 5:00 PM EST | RBC Center | Raleigh, NC

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Tonight's Starting Goaltenders:

Hurricanes - Cam Ward 16 898 6 8 49 3.27 509 460 .904 1

Leafs - Ben Scrivens 7 366 2 3 18 2.95 178 160 .899 0

:45 1st: Nice first shift by the Canes' opening line of Ruutu-Staal-Skinner, and it nearly led to a goal as Jay Harrison snuck down off the point and was fed beautifully by Ruutu, who drew two men to him along the far boards. Harrison was uncovered and Ben Scrivens made a big glove save. That kind of effort is what we saw most of Friday night; now they just need to get pucks in the net.

11:45 1st: It's been a long time since we've seen the Canes maintain possession for long enough to get two full line changes in the process. After Jeff Skinner drew a hooking penalty on Dion Phaneuf, the Canes kept the puck in the zone for well over a minute after the end of the power play, which didn't score but sure looked improved with Ruutu parked in front of Scrivens as the Canes practiced yesterday.

13:30 1st: But then again, there are some old habits that haven't changed: for example, having three guys in the same spot on the ice to chase down a loose puck, leading to a turnover. One thing at a time, I guess.

19:31 1st: Canes lead 1-0; Harrison 2 (Skinner, Staal) The man who got the Canes' scoring chances off to a good start early in the period puts the Canes up by a goal late in the first. Jay Harrison, for whatever reason, has been on fire lately, and deserved every bit of that goal, a nice slapper from 35 feet off a feed from Jeff Skinner. The goal ends a goal-less streak of 154:55 that stretched back to the Philadelphia game on Monday.

End 1st: The shots ended 10-4 for the Hurricanes, who dominated long stretches and have a huge monkey lifted off their backs by scoring late in the period. Now, can they keep it up for 40 more minutes and earn points for their second straight solid effort?

2:57 2nd: Two beautiful scoring chances, nothing to show for it. The Canes had another lengthy pair of shifts in the Toronto zone, but nothing to show for it after a weird couple of caroms off Scrivens followed by Anthony Stewart missing a nearly-open net on his backhand from ten feet. On the first chance, Bryan Allen was screaming for the puck at the left point, banging his stick not he ice to no avail as the Canes couldn't get the puck out from a scrum of about six players just to the left of the Toronto goal.

7:05 2nd: Canes go up 2-0; Jokinen 4 (Faulk, Ponikarovsky) (pp) You read that right: for the first time in what seems like about ten years, the Canes have scored a power play goal. Justin Faulk earned his first NHL point in style with a great keep at the blue line, then made a perfect diagonal pass to Jokinen near the bottom of the near circle. Jokinen's centering attempt to Chad LaRose never made it through, because Luke Schenn did the work for him, redirecting it past Scrivens for a two-goal lead.

14:31 2nd: The Leafs have the look of a team that played last night and had a long flight to get here for an early face-off. They haven't skated at all today, and it shows in a 24-10 shot deficit to Carolina.

End 2nd: As the game has gone on, the Canes have very apparently outskated the Leafs, and Scrivens has become less sure with the puck, giving up a ton of rebounds. The Canes will start the third period on the power play after Tyler Bozak high-sticked Jiri Tlusty with 39 seconds left in the second, and are outshooting the Leafs 29-12 in the game after a 19-8 differential in the period.

2:10 3rd: Strangely, the Canes' best chances have come just as power plays have expired tonight. Scrivens looks really rocky now, and couldn't even get himself set on a Chad LaRose wraparound attempt. One of his defensemen had to run interference (the legal kind) to prevent LaRose from scoring a laughably easy goal.

4:31 3rd: Leafs pull to 2-1; Kessel 15 (Phaneuf, Connolly) (pp) Not much the Canes could do about that one. Down 4-on-3 thanks to a LaRose matching minor and a Ponikarovsky elbowing call, the Leafs used an unconventional setup with Tim Connolly on the point and Dion Phaneuf on the half-wall to set up the league's leading scorer, Phil Kessel, for his 15th of the year.

12:32 3rd: It wouldn't take much to expect the Canes to fold like a cheap tent in the third period, especially given their propensity for blowing late leads and the fact that they gave up a power play goal already. However, they've slowly regained control of this game and are one goal away from putting all that talk to rest.

13:08 3rd: Canes lead 3-1; Skinner 8 (Staal, Allen) And there's your goal. Eric Staal still can't buy a goal to save his life, but fortunately his breakaway from the red line wasn't all for naught as the Leafs were caught flat-footed and couldn't get back in time to keep Jeff Skinner from cleaning up the trash and putting the Canes back up by two on a rebound that Scrivens had no prayer of stopping, given that his defensemen were both at the top of the circles when Skinner backhanded it in.

19:00 3rd: Leafs pull to 3-2; Kessel 16 (Liles, Connolly) With Scrivens pulled for the extra attacker, Phil Kessel fired a wrister from the top of the near circle that beat Ward cleanly high to the glove side. We aren't done yet...

End 3rd: Now we are, and the Canes earned every bit of a 3-2 win that marks their second straight game of solid hockey. Proving that they didn't go into a defensive shell late, the Canes finished with a 41-25 shot advantage.