Here are a few takeaways from the Leafs’ 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Maple Leafs were pinned in their own zone for the majority of the opening 20 minutes against the Hurricanes. Carolina put 17 shots on Jonathan Bernier the first period, matching the same amount he faced the previous game against the Anaheim Ducks. This time, the Hurricanes took the advantage and never looked back.
Lack of discipline
It wasn’t that the Leafs took a lot of penalties, but rather the problem was in the timing. Notably, Cody Franson took an interference call in the third period, which negated a much needed power play opportunity for Toronto, while down 2-1 midway through the third period. Once Carolina went on the power play, Andrej Sekera scored to seemingly prevent a Leafs comeback.
Foot off the throttle
The Maple Leafs put together an impressive six-game winning streak against some of the top teams in the NHL. They are 14-3-2 when taking on teams that have a record above .500. After Thursday, the Leafs fall to 5-7-1 against teams with a losing record. The issues remain the same. The Leafs have to find a way to control possession of the puck.
Raleigh drought and Cam Ward
Raleigh hasn’t been a kind place to the Maple Leafs in recent memory. After Thursday, the Leafs have dropped five straight games at PNC arena, last winning on March 16, 2011. A large reason for that is Cam Ward, who has been on fire despite his team’s performances as of late. There was little traffic in front of Ward, and when there was, Dion Phaneuf was rewarded for his second goal of the season.
Special Teams + Face-offs
The Maple Leafs gave up their second short-handed goal in as many games. The team went 0-3 with the man advantage, halting a 3-game power-play goal streak. The Leafs’ troubles with possession started in the faceoff circle, losing nine of the first ten draws. In the end, Carolina won 68% of total face-offs in the game. Both elements are sure to be highlighted during Friday’s practice.