What they don’t share, however, is the way they have gone about their respective rebuilds. In fact, while the Hurricanes have focused heavily on building from the back end on defense around the likes of Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk, and Noah Hanifin, the Maple Leafs have spent the last few years loading up on forwards with elite offensive skill sets such as 2016 first overall pick Auston Matthews, playmaking wizard Mitch Marner, and emerging sniper William Nylander.
The last time the Leafs visited the Hurricanes, it was Toronto’s offensive firepower that won out, as Matthews scored a goal that we will be subjected to having to watch time and time again on highlight reels in the coming years.
Tonight, it would once again be the offensive style of the Maple Leafs that won out, as they came out on top against the Hurricanes by a 3-2 score in overtime.
The game started off with a physical edge as Leafs defenseman Roman Polak sent Canes rookie forward Valentin Zykov into the boards on a hit that went uncalled. Zykov went straight to the room favoring his shoulder.
While the Leafs may be the team most known for their offensive prowess, it was a young Hurricanes forward who kicked off the scoring on this one, as Victor Rask drove down the wing on Morgan Rielly and beat Frederik Andersen to the short side from a tough angle with a well-placed wrister. Assists on the goal went to Elias Lindholm and Brett Pesce.
The Leafs answered quickly though, as Mitch Marner got a sneaky shot through Ward for his 17th of the season to draw his team even.
At the time of the Rask goal, the Hurricanes held a 9-1 advantage in terms of shots on goal. The Maple Leafs had a strong run, though and the period ended with the shots sitting at 12-9 in favor of the Hurricanes.
In the dying moments of the first, Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev was called for cross-checking Elias Lindholm.
The Maple Leafs were able to kill off the penalty that took place in the first period, but the second period started with a power play goal for Carolina.
Justin Faulk fed Teuvo Teravainen at the point, and Teravainen unleashed a shot that deflected off of Morgan Rielly’s stick and into the net.
It was the team’s third power play goal in the last two games.
Things took a bizarre turn, as when Ward went to play the puck behind his net, he was run into by Leafs center Nazem Kadri. Instead of Kadri going for goalie interference, the call was on Ward for interfering with Kadri.
The 12,300-plus unofficial officials in attendance didn’t like the call, but it ultimately didn’t matter as the Hurricanes were able to kill off the infraction.
Despite not scoring on that power play, the Leafs once again found a quick answer, this time it was James van Riemsdyk putting home his 21st goal of the season.
The second period wore on as the teams traded chances looking for a tie-breaking goal, but neither group was able to make it happen.
The second period ended with shots at 26-15 in favor of Carolina, and the score tied at two goals apiece.
The third period certainly happened, as the first half of the period saw the teams once again went back-and-forth with opportunities that had a chance to amount to something but ultimately didn’t.
Most of the chances that happened were the result of sloppy turnovers by the defending team, but the ‘Canes had a couple nice rushes from Skinner and Teravainen.
The game went to overtime without many threatening chances in the third, where Morgan Rielly beat Cam Ward for the game winning goal at 2:13 of the overtime period.
Rank the Performances
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