The two teams traded many chances in the first period. The Hurricanes pestered Leafs goalie Curtis McElhinney with 15 shots in the period but he stood tall in net. The Hurricanes’ best chance of the period was a heavy slap-shot by defenseman Noah Hanifin with around five minutes left in the period. The Leafs almost squeaked one past Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward but he shut the door with a big save with around three minutes remaining in the period. The teams remained scoreless at the conclusion of the first.
Toronto got on the board early in the first period to break the scoreless tie. James Van Riemsdyk fed Connor Brown with a beautiful saucer pass which was then tipped over Cam Ward’s glove for the first goal of the game. Auston Matthews gave the visitors a two-goal lead after a highlight reel goal in which he was pulled down on a breakaway by Phil Di Giuseppe.
Auston Matthews WHAT A GOAL pic.twitter.com/Bjp9iFSJMH— Hockey Central (@HockeyCentraI) February 20, 2017
Despite registering 31 shots through two periods, the Hurricanes remained scoreless.
Toronto would extend their lead to three goals in the third period after a sloppy play by Phil Di Giuseppe in the Hurricanes defensive zone. Nazem Kadri set up Jake Gardiner at the point who bombed a shot past Ward. Connor Brown would pot another goal to put his team up 4-0. Cam Ward was replaced by Eddie Lack after Brown’s second goal of the night. Curtis McElhinney would secure the shutout stopping all 37 shots he saw.
This was the second of three meetings between the Hurricanes and Leafs this season. The two teams will face off against each other in their final meeting of the season on March 11th. The Hurricanes’ next game is Tuesday at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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