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Hurricane alert: Carolina whips Toronto 6-1, Leafs fall out of playoff spot

Jan 9, 2014, 9:43 PM EDT

Canesleafs Getty Images

Two teams going in very different directions met at PNC Arena tonight… and continued on their respective paths.

The Carolina Hurricanes beat Toronto 6-1 on Thursday, earning their fifth straight win and — perhaps most significantly — temporarily overtook the Leafs for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto, which has lost three in a row, is now sitting outside the playoff picture for the first time this season.

The Leafs only have themselves to blame for this fall from grace. They came out flat on Tuesday and the ‘Canes jumped all over it, scoring three first-period goals before John-Michael Liles — the former Leaf — scored his first goal as a ‘Cane early in the second period to give his club a 4-1 lead.

Jordan Staal then scored shorthanded 35 seconds into the third period before rookie Elias Lindholm finished things off on a late power play to make it 6-1, rubbing further salt in Toronto’s wounds.

While the ‘Canes are flying high and in the midst of their best stretch of the season, the Leafs are experiencing one of their worst. Toronto has been outscored 18-5 over the last three games and their strength this season — goaltending — has faltered badly, as both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer have been sub-par during the winless slide.

For Carolina, Jeff Skinner continued his torrid pace by scoring once again, and now has 17 goals in his last 17 games. The ‘Canes also got a three-point night from Lindholm (in his first game back from World Juniors duty) and four points from Staal, who was named the game’s first star.

  1. brownsbravescanes - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    More of a non-effort by the Leafs than a goof effort by us. Anyway, this team is playing its best hockey and it’s amazing.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      the leafs are showing their true colours. being negative in possession stats and getting outshot badly on many nights isn’t a recipe for success. the team was an illusion and only made the playoffs last year because of the shortened season. they were sliding last year too and it would have been only a matter of time until they were out.

      the sad part is that they could have set a record for most seasons out of the playoffs in a row. Now they get to start all over again, but hopefully they can succeed this time and there isn’t another lockout shortened season where they sneak in.

      • shortsxit34 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:34 AM

        At least they still have the longest Cup drought still going for them.

  2. muckleflugga - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    carlyle…axe

    skinner…incredible

    sidney…who

  3. storminator16 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Tim Gleason makes the Leafs defense even slower. Randy Carlyle was a great d-man himself but what he is doing with the Leafs continues to baffle me. However, my team got the win tonight so I heart that guy for that magnificent display of coaching. Leafs fans deserve better.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      no they don’t. they are getting exactly what they deserve. they continue to support a junk team and bad organization, so i don’t feel sorry for them.

      • storminator16 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:34 PM

        I like the Leafs and many of their fans. Sure, I’ll never be a fan of Nonis or that guy they call “Captain”, but I have ill will towards them.

      • storminator16 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        I have “no” ill will towards them. I swore I proofread that 3 times. Grrr…

      • kaptaanamerica - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:58 PM

        i don’t have ill will either but they make their own bed, so why would anyone feel they deserve better? they don’t. the fans who deserve better are the ones who demand better with their feet and wallets and then support the team when they make a turnaround toward quality. look at what happened in boston, the fans held their support until the on ice product improved. now look at them.

      • storminator16 - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Sports fans, they get all uppity and serious about the littlest of things. Just enjoy life, bro.

      • cofran2004 - Jan 10, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        You’re a joke who clearly doesn’t understand man-law. Once you pick a team, that team is the one you stick with for the rest of eternity. There are certain circumstances that can change this (Your team being disbanded, moving to another city, etc), but abandoning your team because they suck is not a legit reason. Therefore I DO feel bad for them.

        I would love to, for example, abandon the Dallas Cowboys as my favorite football team. I hate their owner, their coach sucks, and they’ve been mediocre at best since the last Superbowl they won. But I won’t, because that’s not what men do. If you jump teams, that’s what’s called being a “Bandwagoner.” The real penguins fans can tell you ALL about bandwagon fans. Sound’s like you fall in this category if you don’t feel bad for a team’s fanbase because they don’t pick another favorite team. Pathetic.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jan 10, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Man-law? What is that, some legal terminology from the Simpsons? Having an organization milk every last penny from the customers and fans while providing a shiite product for fifty years counts as a reason to at least encourage your children to cheer for a different team of you won’t do so yourself.

        On that point,I never said in my comments that fans should cheer for someone else.I said they should withhold their support.meaning don’t buy the product, go to games, watch them on t.v… you took that to mean change who they cheer for, which actually is a great idea. :-)

  4. dhawks19 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Has Carlyle coached his last game as a Leaf? Coaches on HBO’S 24/7 have a high firing rate Boudreau with Washington, Tortorella, and Laviolette

  5. bsaures - Jan 9, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    The leafs have to be one of the biggest embarrassments in pro sports. In how many leagues is the richest team one that has had the least success over the last 50 years.

  6. wembelievable - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    The leafs faults were magnified by facing a very hot team in Carolina, oh and by the way Carolina was without their captain and leading scorer Eric Staal

  7. somekat - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Leafs need JVR to heat back up. That was always my problem with him in Philly, is how streaky he was. Just doesn’t seem like a power forward should have those issues that often. I chalked it up to the fact that the Flyers never really let him get comfortable (yanked him in and out of the lineup, moving him to different lines every other week, etc). I had hoped the new team, and ability to get consistent minutes, would take care of that (he’s not with the Flyers any more, but I always liked the kid, and he’s still a local-ish kid).

    Now is the time for him to snap back in and help his team get back into it. He’s only had 3 goals and 8 assists since the start of December, and 1 of the goals, and 3 of the assists, came in the first the games of December (he’s also -9 in that time). Just not acceptable. Time for him to start living up to that talent level

    • somekat - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:51 AM

      sorry, 1 goal and 4 assists in the first 3 games of December….even worse

    • storminator16 - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      Leafs needed to trade Phaneuf…

  8. icelovinbrotha215 - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    Ebb and flow. That’s the name of the game. It still is January so I’d say it’s a little early to press the panic button. Concern and/or frustration is justified from Leaf Nation.

    • charlieconway96 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:15 AM

      Agreed. Leafs started strong and need to get that jump back in their step. And I’m definitely over people talking about how teams “will be one game out of a playoff spot if they lose tonight” at this point in the season. There’s a lot of hockey to be played.

  9. mrpinkca - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:07 AM

    You can only outrun the regression monster for so long.

  10. mmgant - Jan 10, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    It’s painfully clear that Carlyle has lost this team. The screaming and ranting doesn’t work on them anymore. Time for a change Mr. Nonis.

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