Andersen tops Woll in goaltenders duel as Hurricanes edge Leafs

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In 2016, the same year Frederik Andersen started a four-year tenure in the Maple Leafs’ nets, the club drafted Joseph Woll.

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Past met present on Sunday at Raleigh, N.C., during a superb goaltending duel in which 75 shots yielded just three goals, albeit ending in a 2-1 Hurricanes win.

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Woll made 41 stops, but Andersen shut down his closest friends, namely NHL leading scorer Auston Matthews, through two and a half periods before Nick Robertson scored.

After six straight games of scoring three or more goals — including six the night before against Edmonton — the Leafs were stymied despite finding holes in the usually solid Canes defence.

Toronto was also 0-for-4 on the power play, with some 6-on-4 time before the final buzzer. Matthews was thwarted on each of his team-high seven shots.

Andersen did have a couple of pucks land behind him, but the Leafs couldn’t whack them over the line. But just when it seemed Toronto’s NHL-leading streak of not being shut out would end at 214 games — eighth-longest in league history — Robertson atoned for some earlier mistakes with his 10th goal this year. The assist went to Matthews during a line change.

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“Tough game back-to-back, but we definitely competed and showed we wanted to win,” Robertson told the media in Raleigh. “This (goal) gives you confidence, eases your mind a bit (in what will be a battle for him to stay in the playoff lineup).

“(Woll) was great. We gave him some tough looks and he bailed us out.”

Woll’s own ankle injury, plus the dramatic turnaround in Ilya Samsonov’s game since January, moved the young netminder to understudy status. He flew in early Saturday ahead of the team to be fresh for this start.

“You have three goalies, you’re afforded some flexibility in that way,” Woll said. “I had a good night’s sleep to give our team the best chance to win.

“I thought we played well, had our opportunities. Freddy had a good game and it came down to a goal. There was a playoff-type feel in this arena, the crowd was into it.”

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Andersen, who spent three months recovering from a life-threatening blood clotting condition, is now on a 6-0 roll and has been the Canes’ best goalie since they put the finishing touches on their playoff roster at the trade deadline two weeks ago. He had the fourth-most wins in Leafs history (149) before being let go, as Toronto went another direction that included the development of Woll.

Neither Carolina goal was Woll’s fault in a season-high 41 saves that incorporated a Jake Guentzel penalty shot.

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WHO LEASES THE CREASE?

Now the question is whether Samsonov is good to go Tuesday at home versus New Jersey after leaving Saturday’s game following Edmonton’s third goal late in the final period.

Coach Sheldon Keefe said after the Oilers game the undisclosed injury was not as bad as first thought, but it there’s any doubt, look for No. 3 Martin Jones against the Devils. All three Leafs goalies have absorbed one-goal losses to the Canes this season.

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After wrapping up their conference play against the West with a record of 24-6-2, Sunday began the final 13 against the East to complete the regular season. But the loss was a missed chance to keep pace with Boston and Florida in the Atlantic Division.

BALLAD OF BRODIE

In a worst-case scenario for defenceman TJ Brodie after two games off to ‘clear’ his head according to Keefe, he and Jake McCabe got mixed up in their zone on their first shift. McCabe’s pass in front was picked off for a Brady Skjei goal.

Sebastian Aho then banked a power-play goal in off McCabe’s leg, completing a period in which the Leafs D-man was painfully boarded by Andrei Svechnikov.

Brodie and the flu-ridden Ilya Lyubushkin came back in the lineup as Keefe again chose the heart and soul Simon Benoit to sit, along with the more obvious choice in Conor Timmins.

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Brodie had a chance to score in an otherwise clean game for him.

“He was fine,” Keefe said post-game. “We’re playing one of the best defensive teams in the league and they’re going to make it hard on you. We had more than enough chances to score more than one tonight.”

LOOSE LEAFS

William Nylander’s five-game point streak came to an end Sunday, ditto for John Tavares’ four-gamer … The Leafs, one of the league’s best faceoff teams, were held to 44% success. Matthews went just 4-for-13 … Playing their third game in as many nights, the farm team Marlies ran out of gas in a 4-1 home loss to the Laval Rocket. Alex Steeves had opened the scoring with his 22nd goal. Dennis Hildeby made 16 saves.

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X: @sunhornby

[email protected]

X: @sunhornby

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