Coming off a heart breaking loss in shootout against the defending Stanley Cup champion Black Hawks, the Carolina Hurricanes bounce back in a big way. The Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night. A few Carolina Hurricanes players were making a homecoming in Toronto. Jeff Skinner and Ryan Murphy contributed in big ways in their return to their home country of Ontario.
It didn’t take long for things to get crazy in Toronto. 32 seconds into the game, Toronto rookie Josh Leivo accidentally knees James Reimer in the head. He left immediately after, which forced Jonathan Bernier into the net for Toronto. The first period was full of chippy play and penalties on either side. The Hurricanes took three penalties while the Maple Leafs took two in the first frame. Cam Ward made big saves early and kept the game tied zero to zero after the first.
Things got away from the Carolina Hurricanes in the second period as Toronto put two goals past Ward. It took two and a half minutes for Toronto to score in the second, as Joffrey Lupul chips a puck over a sprawling Cam Ward following a two-on-one break out. About four minutes later, Josh Leivo, yes, the same Josh Leivo that knocked Reimer out of the game, scores on another odd man rush following a bad pinch by Andrej Sekera.
The Carolina Hurricanes come out flying in period three, and the goal scoring started with Ryan Murphy’s first goal in the NHL. It was a slap shot from the left point that bounced off a Maple Leaf player and in. The goal gave life to the entire team and they looked like a brand new team from that point forward. Just minutes later, Eric Staal found a loose puck in the slot and ripped it past Bernier to tie the game at two.
The most talked about thing from tonight’s game will likely be how the game winning goal was scored. Ron Hainsey’s attempted pass to Jeff Skinner missed the mark and went all the way down ice. Radek Dvorak beat the Maple Leafs to the faceoff dot, so icing was called off. The puck then went off the end wall and towards the goal mouth. Jonathan Bernier then made a careless play and the puck deflected in the net off of his skate. That would be how this would end. The Hurricanes pick up a big win in Toronto and now they head off Long Island for a match up on Saturday against the Islanders, who the Hurricanes have historically done well against.
Some players looked very good against the Maple Leafs. Ryan Murphy really has come a long way since his emergency call up last season. Jeff Skinner was spectacular, again. Justin Faulk played very well in all three zones, and Cam Ward made big stops and looked like the Cam Ward of old. I expect him to prove some doubters wrong this year and maybe even compete for a spot on Canada’s Olympic team.