For the second straight game, the Carolina Hurricanes found themselves behind 2-0 going into the third period, and for the second straight game the Canes battled back to tie things up, but this night they were able to score one more time and hang on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2 on Thursday night at the ACC.
After a scoreless first period, the Leafs scored twice quickly in the second. At 2:30 into the period and during a scramble in front of Cam Ward, Joffrey Lupul found a loose puck and roofed it over Ward to make it 1-0.
Just four minutes and change later, Josh Leivo got behind Andrej Sekera and created a 2-on-1 break into the Carolina zone. Justin Faulk picked up the other Leaf nicely, but Leivo beat Ward on the short side to make it 2-0.
The Hurricanes had been playing well and controlling much of the game at this point, but they could not take advantage of their many chances. For example, Jordan Staal broke into the clear but whiffed on a chance. Eric Staal set up Tuomo Ruutu on another play, but Ruutu shot just wide. Drayson Bowman missed an open net during a powerplay.
But finally in the third period, things started to go Carolina's way.
At 2:54 into the third, Ryan Murphy skated the puck end-to-end during a powerplay chance and made a nice move and shot on Jonathan Bernier, which the goalie was able to turn aside. But Jeff Skinner gathered the rebound and sent it back to his former Kitchener teammate and Murphy rifled it into the net to get the Canes on the board.
It was Murphy's first career NHL goal and Skinner's team leading sixth assist this season.
Once again, about four minutes later, Eric Staal found a loose puck in the slot area and roofed it over Bernier to tie things up. Faulk picked up his fifth assist of the season on the play.
With just under seven minutes left in the game, Ron Hainsey sent a puck off the side boards from deep in the Carolina zone, toward the other end of the rink. The Leafs might have been thinking the play would be called icing, but Radek Dvorak was hustling on the play and beat the Leafs to the faceoff circle to negate any whistle.
The puck took an odd bounce off the end boards toward Bernier, who nonchalantly played it, and inadvertently knocked it into his own net. The Leafs stood by in disbelief, but the goal would hold up and eventually would be the game winner.
Bernier was not scheduled to start this game but was called in when James Reimer was accidentally knocked into by Leivo very early into the contest.
While the final goal was lucky, the Hurricanes deserved this game and outplayed the home team for large stretches. They just need to be able to capitalize more often on their chances.
The team will next travel to Long Island to take on the Islanders on Saturday night.
- This was a huge night for Murphy, who scored his first in front of family and friends at home. He had 15:49 of ice time in this one and three shots on goal.
- The team outshot the Leafs 38-26. E. Staal led the way with six. Skinner was next with four.
- The Leafs had 12 blocked shots to six for Carolina.
- Jay Harrison had a team high six hits. The team had 25 compared to 37 for Toronto.
- Check out post game interviews here: Canes PR