Frederik Andersen and the Canes run their record to 5-0 with a win over the Maple Leafs

·3 min read

The Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t spoil the night for Frederik Andersen.

The Carolina Hurricanes scored three times in the second period in surging to a 4-1 victory over the Leafs at PNC Arena, staying undefeated at 5-0. And, just as importantly, giving Andersen a victory over his former team in his fifth start and win this season.

Last week, the Canes made sure Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s return to Montreal went well as the forward faced the team that allowed him to leave after Carolina’s offer sheet. This night, it was Andersen ending the game with a smile.

Sebastian Aho scored his fourth of the season, tipping in a second-period shot, and Nino Niederreiter his second with a strong stuff later in the period. And fourth-liner Steven Lorentz had Canes fans up and roaring in the second, outfighting defenseman Rasmus Sandin to carry the puck down the slot and pop it through the pads of goalie Jack Campbell.

Andrei Svechnikov, who played on Aho’s line much of the game, had a late empty-net score, his fifth goal of the season.

Lorentz’s determination and grit was indicative of how the Canes went about their business this night. They were hard on the puck, in the right spots defensively and taking care of all the detail work.

Andersen took it from there. He faced eight shots in each of the first two periods, allowing a first-period goal to close friend Auston Matthews and then shutting things down.

The Canes brought in David Ayres to sound the warning siren before the game, rekindling memories of the last time the Canes and Leads played. Ayres’ had some myth-making work in that February 2020 game in Toronto entering the game as the emergency backup goalie and helping the Canes to a 6-3 victory.

The Canes faced some adversity in Monday’s game -- and answered, emphatically.

Matthews scored the first goal of the game, the first of the season for the Leafs star and the 200th of his career. Matthews’ wraparound beat Andersen as the Leafs led 1-0 after one.

Canes defenseman Brett Pesce was slammed into the boards in the first when Toronto’s Nick Ritchie put a forearm into Pesce’s head.

The Canes’ Jaccob Slavin picked up a penalty in the second — yes, a penalty on Slavin, a hockey rarity.

How did the Canes respond? Carolina scored three times in the second. Pesce popped up, shook off the hit and played. As for Slavin ...

Soon after leaving the penalty box, foreign territory for the defenseman, he gathered in the puck near the right point, left the Leafs’ Mitch Marner grasping at air with a nifty side step and stickhandling and got the puck to Niederreiter for the score.

Sweet move, good finish by Niederreiter, big goal. The Canes led 3-1 heading into the third.

One of the Leafs goalies did get a nice ovation. Petr Mrazek, who signed with Toronto after last season, is injured and was seated high above the ice. The Canes welcomed him back on the big board and many fans rose to salute the goalie who helped them get back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Andersen to the Canes and Mrazek to the Leafs were two of the offseason’s most intriguing free-agent moves. The two may face off some time this season but it wouldn’t be Monday.

Campbell had a terrific first period, stopping 15 shots as Carolina piled up zone time but couldn’t score. The Canes made the most of their six shots in the second, scoring on half of them.

The Canes continue the four-game homestand Thursday against the Boston Bruins. A sixth straight start for Andersen? It can’t be ruled out although Antti Raanta, another offseason acquisition, could get his first look.

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