RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes thoroughly outplayed the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period of Monday’s home game but still trailed by a goal, the first time this season they were behind after any period.
The Hurricanes made sure to not let it happen again.
After tying the game on a Sebastian Aho goal, Carolina used two highlight-reel plays in the second period to pull away from the Maple Leafs in a 4-1 win and improve to 5-0-0 on the season in front of 14,011 fans at PNC Arena.
Steven Lorentz scored his first of the year just before the game’s midway point, using his 30-pound weight advantage to bull through Toronto defenseman Rasmus Sandin and slide the puck past goalie Jack Campbell (32 saves) to give Carolina a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“I was fortunate enough to get a good step,” Lorentz said, “and I think I just won the body positioning against their D-man, and I just wanted to get the puck to the net. … I didn’t know if there was gonna be a rebound or not, but I’m very fortunate that went in.”
Then Jaccob Slavin — having just served his first penalty of the year to match his total from all of last season — undressed Leafs winger Mitch Marner in the Toronto zone and set up Nino Niederreiter’s second goal of the year for a 3-1 lead at 16:49 of the middle frame.
“I got around him and then both guys came to me,” Slavin said of his deke past Marner. So I saw him down there all by himself, and he took it to the hoop and good things happen. That was a big goal at a big time. That’s a big kill before that, thankfully.”
Lost a bit in the Hurricanes’ offensive theatrics was the main storyline coming into the game: Frederik Andersen playing his old team for the first time.
With legendary emergency goalie David Ayres — the man who stunningly beat Andersen in Toronto on Feb. 22, 2020 — in the building, Carolina’s new netminder shook off an early goal against and shut down the Leafs the rest of the way. The only shot that got past Andersen (24 saves) came at 3:25 of the first period when Auston Matthews — without a point coming into the game — scored on a wraparound to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead.
While Andersen said it was still “too soon” to address how it felt to be on the other side of Ayres game, he was able to quickly shake off the Matthews goal to get his fifth win in as many games while improving both his goals-against average (1.60) and league-leading save percentage (.946).
“You’re gonna get scored on, you’re going to make saves,” Andersen said of bouncing back from the first goal. “No matter what happens, you’ve just got to be able to get ready for the next one.
“Take a sip of water and forget about it — just have that short memory and try to stay present.”
Lorentz also had a short memory, tucking away the good feelings from his goal to make a sliding block of a Jake Muzzin slap shot just over two minutes later.
“Obviously, it felt great, especially for the confidence,” Lorentz said of the goal. “But at the same time, I have a job to do. … I kind of had to put that goal behind me a little bit. Obviously, that excitement’s still there. But like I said, I have a job to do and that’s what I did.”
Coach Rod Brind’Amour was quick to credit Lorentz for how he’s continuing to develop after playing just the 50th game of his NHL career.
“He’s just been great for us,” Brind’Amour said. “We love his attitude. We love when he comes to the rink every day, he fits everything we’re doing here. You like to see him have that reward. … And it was a huge goal.”
Notes: Ian Cole played his 600th career NHL game. … Carolina is one of four teams — along with Florida, St. Louis and Edmonton — to have won all of their games this season. … Andrei Svechnikov, who scored a late empty-net goal, had two points and has points in all five games this season. Aho also has a five-game point streak. … Vincent Trocheck had five missed shots, including one on a breakaway that he shot wide. … Neither team scored on the power play, with both going 0-for-3 on the night. … Toronto is 0-3-1 in their last four games and has been outscored 17-6 in those games. The Leafs are now 2-4-1 on the season.