The Carolina Hurricanes began a three-city Canadian road swing on Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto with a 2-1 win against the Maple Leafs. The Hurricanes extended their winning streak to five games, their longest streak since January 2014.
Jake Gardiner opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs with a slap-shot from the left point at 5:55, with Nazem Kadri in front providing a screen that prevented Cam Ward from seeing the shot.
Late in the first, the Carolina power play tied the game, as the Canes jammed at the puck in front of the Toronto net. Derek Ryan flipped the puck off the post, off a Leafs defenseman, then finally off Jeff Skinner and in to make the score 1-1 with 2:39 to go in the first period. Skinner’s eighth goal of the season pulled him into a tie with Victor Rask for the team lead.
Both teams traded chances much of the second period, but when the Canes went down a man following a Jay McClement hooking penalty, the league’s top penalty kill took over.
With a nifty play in the neutral zone, Elias Lindholm was able to scoot the puck out to Viktor Stalberg for a breakaway goal at 14:06 of the second period to give the Canes the lead. Lindholm, who scored his first goal of the season two nights ago, now has points in three straight games and four of his last five.
Following the shorthanded goal, the Canes were able to control play for the rest of the second period, out-shooting the Leafs in the period 10-7, but were unable to add to their lead.
In the third period, the Maple Leafs received a golden opportunity early as Cam Ward made a sprawling save at the top of his crease which left an open net for the rebound, which was lifted up and over the net by Mitch Marner, with an assist from Brett Pesce deflecting the puck in front of the net.
The up and down pace continued until McClement went to the box again with 5:39 remaining. The Canes’ penalty kill did the job again, shutting down the Leafs’ best chance at an equalizer, as the Canes survived the penalty and the final few minutes to claim a 2-1 victory.
For the eleventh straight season, the Hurricanes have won exactly one game in Toronto. Tuesday was their only visit to the ACC this season. The win allowed the Canes to leapfrog the Leafs into 11th in the East, one point behind the Panthers and Devils with 20 points.
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