It looked like the Carolina Hurricanes were finally going to put an end to their losing streak as the team made a nice comeback to take a 3-2 lead deep into the third period, but the Toronto Maple Leafs would score four goals, including two empty netters, in the last five and a half minutes to earn a 6-3 win over the visitors on Thursday night at the ACC.
That makes seven consecutive games without a win for the Hurricanes.
Toronto would jump out to a 2-0 lead and dominated action at points of the game. Tyler Bozak scored just four minutes into the contest and Cody Franson would add a powerplay goal nine minutes into the second period. Phil Kessel had first assist on both goals.
But Alexander Semin found Eric Staal breaking into the clear on a short-handed chance and the captain was able to beat James Reimer to give the Hurricanes some hope.
Later in the period the Canes went on the powerplay themselves and the team was able to hold the puck in the Toronto zone for a long period of time before Semin found an opening and beat Reimer to tie things up. Joe Corvo earned the primary assist and made a nice play to keep the puck in the Carolina zone before passing it to the Russian.
With the scored tied at two in the third, Corvo made another nice play getting the puck to Tuomo Ruutu who then banked a pass off the side boards to Jordan Staal. Staal then took the puck to the net and roofed a perfect shot over Reimer 6:55 into the period to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.
The Canes were able to hold onto the lead until Dion Phaneuf blasted a shot past Justin Peters just as Eric Staal was coming out of the penalty box. As luck would have it, Semin had broken his stick earlier during the sequence which helped Phaneuf find an opening. The goal came with 5:25 left in the game.
A little over two minutes after the tying goal, Joffrey Lupul skated the puck from end to end, with no one stopping him, and then beat a surprised Peters for the game winner. The initial shot hit the post, but Lupul was able to reach his stick behind the goalie to tap it in.
The Canes were in the midst of a line change during the rush and this is something that several teams have taken advantage of much of the season, slow or poor line changes by Carolina. Corvo tried to stop the skater, but could not match his speed.
The Leafs would add two empty net goals in the final minute to close things out.
Next up for the Hurricanes is the division leading Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon.
- The Canes were outshot 36-22 for the game. Semin led the team with five shots on goal.
- Jay Harrison had a team high five blocked shots.