CANES AND UNABLE: Maple Leafs follow brutal loss with another one

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The tip stays nigh.


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Or so one would suppose with the 2021-22 Maple Leafs, who’ve set expectations too excessive for themselves.

The Leafs usually are not — spoiler alert — a Stanley Cup contender within the making.

Not with one other loss, this one a 4-1 consequence at PNC Area in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday evening towards the Carolina Hurricanes.

Outdated teammate Frederik Andersen didn’t have to face on his head towards the Leafs, ending with 24 saves to go 5-0 in his first 5 video games with Carolina.

Toronto, which now boasts a document of 2-4-1, ends its three-game journey on Wednesday in Chicago towards the lowly Blackhawks. A loss within the Windy Metropolis and it’s a must to marvel if winds of change gained’t blow by way of the group to a point.

Auston Matthews scored in his fourth recreation again after recovering from wrist surgical procedure, recording his 2 hundredth purpose within the Nationwide Hockey League, however the Leafs didn’t decide themselves off the mat after getting trounced in Pittsburgh on Saturday.


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The Leafs, as they have an inclination to do, have been saying the proper issues in expressing the apparent sentiment — that their response to what occurred towards the Penguins can be key.

However Carolina underneath coach Rod Brind’Amour is a hungry, decided group and the Leafs didn’t put up a lot of a problem. Toronto continues to battle the puck in its personal finish, and although Jack Campbell had some good moments within the Leafs internet, he couldn’t do sufficient to avoid wasting his teammates.

Andrei Svechnikov scored into an empty internet with one minute remaining.

Whereas Matthews obtained on the board, no signal of Mitch Marner, who isn’t the identical participant we’ve come to know in Toronto. Marner stays caught at one help on the season and has not scored in his previous 15 video games, together with the 2021 playoffs.


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Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe shuffled his strains to begin, placing Matthews between Michael Bunting and William Nylander, and John Tavares between Alex Kerfoot and Marner, however none of that amounted to a lot throughout the course of 60 minutes.

The Leafs didn’t carry any momentum off Matthews’ first purpose into the second interval.

Carolina had six photographs on Campbell within the interval. Three of them went in.

Toronto’s 1-0 lead was gone seven minutes in when Sebastian Aho deflected an Ethan Bear shot previous Campbell.

Two minutes later, Steven Lorentz outmuscled Rasmus Sandin to a unfastened puck with no different participant between the 2 and Campbell. Lorentz managed to get off a stoppable shot that beat Campbell between the legs.

And it was 3-1 at 16:49 when defenceman Jaccob Slavin danced previous Marner and obtained the puck to Nino Niederreiter, who stepped to the entrance of the web and scored. Matthews made a few stick waves on the play as effectively, clearly not too involved with getting bodily concerned.


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Together with his milestone purpose, Matthews, taking part in in his 338th NHL recreation, moved right into a tie for thirteenth on the Leafs’ profession record with Charlie Conacher. The one participant in franchise historical past to want fewer video games to attain 200 was Conacher, who did it in 317 video games.

Additionally of observe concerning the Matthews purpose: Amongst lively gamers, solely Washington Capitals celebrity Alex Ovechkin required fewer video games to get to 200, coming in his 296th recreation. And Matthews is the quickest U.S.-born participant in NHL historical past to attain 200, beating Kevin Stevens, who scored 200 in 363 video games.

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Throughout his availability following the morning skate, Matthews mused about the potential for scoring on Andersen, his closest good friend with the Leafs earlier than the goalie departed for Carolina by way of free company this previous summer time.


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“It’s going to be humorous, but in addition plenty of enjoyable dealing with him,” Matthews mentioned. “It’s bizarre seeing him in purple colors versus blue, so hopefully he lets me sneak one or two previous him.”

Nicely, we’re undecided Andersen was going to be fast to answer Matthews’ post-game texts.

Matthews gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the primary interval, beating Andersen on a wraparound. The forecheck of Bunting and Matthews helped create the purpose, and Matthews obtained a step on Bear across the internet to slide the puck previous Andersen.

Campbell was excellent within the first, stopping all 15 photographs on purpose as his teammates weren’t constantly tidy within the defensive zone.



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