The Toronto Maple Leafs’ effort was improved compared to the past couple of games but they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes Monday.
The Maple Leafs are winless in four and have been outscored 16-5 in three consecutive losses.
Toronto has had difficulty scoring early this season, but they did get on the board first in this game. Auston Matthews scored his first goal of the season at 3:25 of the first period. Matthews wraparound attempt went just inside the far post, past Frederik Andersen.
Hurricanes turn the tide
Carolina controlled play substantially after that, and that territorial dominance paid off in the second period.
Sebastian Aho got the ‘Canes on the board at 7:02 of the second period, scoring his fourth goal of the season, as he deflected an Ethan Bear point shot past Maple Leafs netminder Jack Campbell. Maple Leafs centre Jason Spezza was beside Aho but did not prevent Aho from getting his stick on the puck.
At 9:25 of the second period, Steven Lorentz outbattled Rasmus Sandin for a loose puck in the Toronto zone and fired a shot between Campbell’s legs. Carolina took a 2-1 lead on Lorentz’s first goal of the season.
Nino Niederreiter added some insurance, giving the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead after taking a pass from Jaccob Slavin and walking out of the corner to snap the puck past Campbell. Slavin finished the game with a pair of assists and he took a minor penalty.
Toronto tried to mount some offense in the third period but could not sustain enough pressure. Any attempts were ultimately snuffed out by Andersen, the former Maple Leafs goaltender who stopped 24 of 25 shots to earn the win. Jack Campbell had 32 saves on 35 shots in the loss.
Toronto Maple Leafs frustration
Midway through the third period, Toronto had a quality chance when Mitch Marner set up Alexander Kerfoot on a shorthanded 2-on-1. Andersen made the save as Hurricanes centre Vincent Trocheck was called for hooking on the play.
It was a difficult night for Marner. He took a stick in the mouth in the first period and lost at least pieces of some teeth.
Andrei Svechnikov finished off the scoring for Carolina, scoring into an empty net with one minute remaining in the third period.
Carolina is now 5-0 on the season. They have been playing at a high level and were deserving winners of this game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs fall to 2-4-1 through seven games. As tension builds during this slump, the Maple Leafs will prepare for Wednesday night’s game at Chicago, where they will face the winless Blackhawks in a game that will pit two desperate teams against one another.
More analysis and quotes from media availability coming to ToHN shortly.
Not a member? Subscribe to TorontoHockeyNow today and get $10 dollars off our subscription fee of $39.99 for access to all four Canadian sites. Use promo code “Maple Leafs” to get $10 off!