The Toronto Maple Leafs have already clinched a playoff spot, so they weren’t motivated enough in the match against the Carolina Hurricanes, which they lost 4-1 on Tuesday night. Jordan Staal was on the scoresheet for the Hurricanes, while Petr Mrazek had 23 saves, leading their them to its 44th win of the season.
The Hurricanes are on the verge of securing a place in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
The team from Raleigh, North Carolina was 27th in the standing at the beginning of the year, has now entered the East Conference wild-card spot, with an advantage of a single point over the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens
On the other hand, John Tavares scored his 47th goal of the season, while the Maple Leafs goalie Garret Sparks had 33 saves.
The Maple Leafs clinched a playoff spot on Monday when the beat the New York Islander 2-1 at Madison Square Garden, and they’ll face the Bruins in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Hurricanes Looked Impressive
Toronto was playing its third game in the last four nights, with chances to get the second position in the Atlantic Division, which would give the team home ice advantage in the opening round of playoffs. However, after losing this game, it is clear the Maple Leafs will play the first game of the series in Boston.
After losing 1-0 in the first period, Toronto was two goals down 2:13 in the second period. Spectators at Scotiabank Arena got their hopes up after Tavares scored the goal for the Maple Leafs at 10:55.
Toronto fell behind 2-0 at 2:13 of the second period on a Carolina power play with Martin Marincin in the box for interference. Sparks made a desperation save on Hamilton at the side of the crease, but the Hurricanes defenceman managed to bank his follow-up effort off the netminder’s right leg from below the goal line — Carolina’s second from behind the Leafs’ net — for the Toronto native’s 17th of the season.
The home team pushed forward in the third period, and Patric Marleau could have equalized, but his shot went wide. William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen could have both done the same, but Mrazek did a good job.
The Hurricanes made it 3-1 at 9:36, after Staal scored his 10th goal of the season, while Hamilton’s second of the game, with less than a minute left on the clock, made it 4-1.
Toronto will play its next game on Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.