RALEIGH — As has been the case often this season, the Carolina Hurricanes controlled much of their game Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Hurricanes had a dominant first period in which they outshot the Leafs 14-4 and Toronto managed just one shot at even strength. But Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen — a one-time seventh-round pick of the Hurricanes who opted to re-enter the draft rather than sign with Carolina — was the difference, making several key stops to keep the opening period scoreless.
Then trailing in the third, Carolina pushed and scored three times to try and rally.
Toronto, however, did the bulk of its damage in the second period, scoring four times en route to a 5-4 win at PNC Arena.
“I think we maybe got a little bit impatient, is why we forced some things in the middle part of the game,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “But … you know it doesn’t work. You gotta stay structured, you gotta play the game the right way.”
Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin scored down the stretch to make it a one-goal game, but Andersen (43 saves) again answered the bell by making several stops when the Hurricanes had an extra attacker to close out the game.
The difference wound up being a third period power play goal by Patrick Marleau that came after a questionable goaltender interference call against Jeff Skinner.
Skinner and Andersen came together, with the latter appearing to be making the contact before falling. Skinner, who was visibly angry with the call and admitted so afterward, went to the box and watched as Auston Matthews found Marleau alone at the far post to beat Scott Darling — who relieved Cam Ward to start the third period — to push the lead to 5-2.
“It was a big goal for them. It was their winning goal, I think,” Skinner said while carefully choosing his words. “It’s … it’s a big point in the game. I thought, yeah, I thought I was just skating.”
Peters seemed less than thrilled with the officiating as well when asked about the Skinner call and a couple others during the game.
“I thought it was outside the blue paint,” he said. “I didn’t think there was much there and I don’t know if we were the actual ones who initiated the contact. I sure didn’t think there was much. So that ends up resulting in the game-winning goal, so it’s a big call.”
The Skinner infraction and subsequent goal came shortly after Jordan Staal had scored on a delayed penalty 3:08 into the third to make it 4-2 and bring to life the crowd of 15,241.
The Lindholm and Hanifin goals cut the lead to one, but Carolina — which outshot the Leafs 47-25, including 20-9 in the third — couldn’t get the equalizer by Andersen.
“Just a few too many defensive lapses,” Staal said. “Little plays, but they made us pay. When you let in five goals as a group, the odds of you getting a win are very slim.”
The lapses came early in the second and carried throughout the entire period.
First, after Cam Ward (12 saves on 16 shots) failed to clear the puck out of the zone, Jake Gardiner lured Ward out of the net and fed the puck to Zach Hyman in the goal mouth for a tap-in and a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the middle frame.
The Maple Leafs stretched the lead to two when Josh Leivo came blazing up the left wing and beat Ward in the glove side corner at 7:14.
Another ex-Hurricane stung Carolina when Ron Hainsey collected a loose puck off the boards and picked the stick-side top corner on Ward for a 3-0 lead just past the game’s midway point.
The Hurricanes finally cracked the Leafs and Andersen at 13:35 of the second.
Skinner ripped a shot that Andersen fended off, but the Carolina forward got his own rebound and found Derek Ryan alone at the doorstep. Ryan quickly went skate to stick and deposited the puck past Andersen for his fifth goal of the year to make it 3-1.
Toronto, however, had an answer for that goal. James van Riemsdyk shot a puck off the right post and it redirected off Ward’s skate an in for a three-goal cushion with 96 seconds left in the second.
That was it for Ward, who was replaced with Darling to start the third. Darling earned the loss because he allowed the power play goal to Marleau, which wound up as the game-winner.
Notes: Victor Rask returned to the lineup and had four shots on goal and three hits in 14:10. He ended up a game-best plus-3 despite not registering a point. … With an assist, Teuvo Teravainen extended his point streak to six games. Sebastian Aho’s five-game goal scoring and point streak was snapped. … Justin Faulk was credited with 15 shots attempts (four on goal) and eight hits.