The Toronto Maple Leafs were looking good last night for more than two periods, then a fluke goal late in the third gave Carolina a 3-2 victory.
After opening up a 2-0 lead, Leafs got complacent and Carolina took advantage, tallying three times, all in the third period.
The third goal, which was credited to Hurricane defenseman Ron Hainsey, bounced off of the boards behind Leaf goaltender Jonathan Bernier, and found its way between Bernier’s legs, hit his left skate and trickled in.
It was the only moment this season (5 games) in which the ACC crowd went silent.
Oh, no it wasn’t! Starting goaltender James Reimer also had a rough start, less than a minute into the opening period, when rookie Josh Leivo collided with him to the right of Reimer’s net and accidentally struck the goaltender in the head with his knee. Reimer was basically knocked out, and had a headache later in the night; Bernier took over for him.
“Some tough bounces, but it’s almost karma for the way we’ve been playing a little bit loose,” defenseman Cody Franson said.
Lupul was going for a line change as the puck was going down the ice.
Asked if the play made him reconsider his thoughts on hybrid icing, he made it clear he didn’t see the goal either live or on replay.
“Whatever, we (the players) voted yes on hybrid icing,” he said. “I won’t say my opinion, but you can tell what I voted.”
The NHL experimented with hybrid icing during the preseason and it was implemented for the regular season after a vote by the players’ association.
The rest of the Leafs did their part to build up a 2-0 lead on goals by Leivo (the second Leaf goal and his first of his NHL career, and Joffrey Lupul opened the scoring 2:30 into the second period from Paul Ranger.
The only lesson he could tell his players was to “never give up on the puck.”
Bernier, who finished with 34 saves on 37 shots, figures that “fluke” goals like that will happen from time to time.
“Obviously throughout an 82-game schedule, you’re going to win some games you shouldn’t and lose some that you probably should’ve won,” Lupul said. “It has a way of equaling out in the end.”
Leivo scored his first career NHL goal 6:47 into the second period on a shot that went over Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward’s left shoulder. “It’s a great feeling,” Leivo said. “It’s a little bittersweet right now but a good chip by Bolland, I got past that D-man two-on-one, (Jay) McClement played a good decoy there and I just saw the top corner and put it short side.” … Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk missed his second straight game with back spasms. … Ward finished with 24 saves on 26 shots.