RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Frederik Andersen made 24 saves against his former team and the unbeaten Carolina Hurricanes matched the best five-game start in franchise history by defeating the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Monday night.
Sebastian Aho, Steven Lorentz and Nino Niederreiter scored second-period goals for the Hurricanes. Andrei Svechnikov added an empty-netter and Jaccob Slavin had two assists.
Carolina also was 5-0-0 in 2019-20.
“This group is going to work hard every night,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’ve still got some areas to clean up. It’s good that we’re finding ways to win.”
Andersen has been the only goalie used by the Hurricanes this season. His latest performance came with personal connections to the opponent.
“I was trying not to think too much about it,” Andersen said. “It was kind of tough mentally to kind of shut that off and not try to analyze every play and what they might do.”
Jack Campbell stopped 31 shots for Toronto, which is 0-3-1 in its past four games and has managed just one goal in three of them.
“We’ve just got to believe,” left wing Michael Bunting said. “I think we’re confident to get out of this rut.”
Auston Matthews opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs with his first goal of the season. His wraparound came 3:25 in.
With the Hurricanes failing to score in the first period, it meant they trailed entering the second for the first time this season.
“I thought our first period was our best period of play and we were down 1-0,” Brind’Amour said. “It was kind of weird how the game kind of went that way.”
Aho and Lorentz scored less than 2 1/2 minutes apart in the second. Aho has a point in every Carolina game this season, while Lorentz got his first goal of the season.
The Maple Leafs were their busiest in the third period, recording nine shots. But they couldn’t solve Andersen again.
“Freddie has just been a rock,” Lorentz said.
Matthews was the NHL leader in goals with 41 last season, so getting him in the scoring column was key. He was without an assist across his first three games as well.
Matthews wasn’t pleased with the outcome, but he tried to find a positive with his goal.
“Hopefully, that’s a good step for me moving forward,” he said.
YOU MUST BE TRIPPING
Slavin, a defenseman, was called for a second-period tripping penalty. That was his first penalty in more than 1,074 minutes of ice time dating to last March. The stretch included the 2021 playoffs and covered parts of 45 games.
“It was me,” Slavin said of the infraction. “I talked to the ref about it.”
David Ayres, who made history in February 2020 by becoming the only emergency backup goalie to get an NHL victory when he rescued the Hurricanes against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, was honored again in Raleigh. This time, he handled the pregame siren ringing to welcome the Hurricanes to the ice.
Andersen was on the Toronto side for that unusual situation.
“A fun story for many people, but not in our room that year,” Andersen said.
A bit later Monday, Petr Mrazek, who was Carolina’s top goalie for parts of the past three seasons but is out of the Toronto lineup because of an injury, received a big ovation when introduced during the first period. He acknowledged the crowd from an upper-arena box.
Maple Leafs: Finish a three-game road trip Wednesday night at Chicago.
Hurricanes: Host the Boston Bruins on Thursday night in the opening part of their first back-to-back of the season.
© 2021 The Canadian Press