The Canes started the first period strong with an early offensive push. Derek Ryan fed Sebastian Aho with a smooth pass near the goal but Aho’s shot ended up in the mesh. Carolina was gifted an early power play opportunity after Zach Hyman tripped Teuvo Tervainen. Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask both got off shots in close but were not able to capitalize. Toronto Maple Leafs goalie and former Hurricane draft pick Frederick Andersen made a stellar save on Victor Rask at the 2:39 mark of the first period despite some great offensive zone pressure. Soon after the save, Derek Ryan was called for hooking but the Canes would kill off the penalty after no shots by the Leafs. Carolina lead Toronto 14-4 in shots after the conclusion of the first period.
Toronto scored just 53 seconds into the second period on their fifth shot of the game. Ward fell for a head fake and ended up far out of position. Jake Gardiner fed Zach Hyman in the crease who tapped it in for the game’s first goal. Nazem Kadri earned the secondary assist on the goal, extending his point streak to nine games. At 12:46 of the second, Josh Leivo and fired a wrist shot over Ward’s glove to put the visitors up 2-0. Former Hurricane Ron Hainsey fired a wrist shot up high on Ward that found its way up high with around eight minutes to go in the period to give the Leafs a 3-0 lead. The Hurricanes responded with a behind the net pass from Jeff Skinner that found Derek Ryan in front who beat Andersen for his fifth goal of the season. With 1:36 in the period, James van Reimsdyk fired a shot from the circle that went off the post and careened off the back of Ward’s heel for the Leafs fourth goal of the game.
After Ward’s sour showing in the second period, Scott Darling replaced him to start the third. Jordan Staal struck early in the third period to bring the Canes within two after the puck bounced to his stick after a bad shot attempt by Justin Faulk. Teuvo Teravainen earned an assist as well on the play, continuing the strong play of the TSA line. After a questionable goalie interference call on Jeff Skinner, the Leafs scored on the ensuing power play after a great slap pass from Auston Matthews to Patrick Marleau who simple tapped it in past Darling. After swapping chances back and forth, the Canes added another goal to pull back within two after Elias Lindholm wouldn’t be denied after multiple shots. Noah Hanifin added another just 1:31 later to bring the game within one goal. The Hurricanes pulled Darling with a little over two minutes to go but to no avail. Despite some solid offensive chances late, Andersen made a late steal to thwart a chance at a Hurricanes comeback.
Carolina will look to end their four-game homestand on a positive note as the Nashville Predators come to town on Sunday afternoon. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Carolinas.
Rank the performances
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