TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs capped a solid 10-game season-opening stretch on Thursday night with one of their worst efforts in recent memory.
From suspect goaltending to shaky defence to blown scoring opportunities, a 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes was a scoreline that could have been uglier for Toronto.
Let's just say it won't be a surprise if the Maple Leafs have bag-skate drills in their future.
"Non-competitive right from the start until the end," said Toronto head coach Mike Babcock.
Josh Jooris scored twice and Teuvo Teravainen had a three-point night for the Hurricanes, who led 2-0 early in the first period and scored three unanswered goals over the final 30 minutes.
Carolina outshot Toronto 38-34.
"They deserved to win, we didn't deserve to win," Babcock said. "We didn't work, they worked. They were organized, we were unorganized. They were prepared, we were unprepared."
This contest had a pond hockey feel from the start. It was true October hockey with little flow and choppy play at both ends of the ice.
"I think we've got to play with more pride," said Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen.
The Hurricanes weren't much better than the Leafs, they just took advantage of their opportunities.
"We were working super hard the whole game," said Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling. "Retrieving pucks, getting pucks deep, back-checking hard. The (Leafs are) a really good team, really skilled."
The Maple Leafs showed flashes of the play that helped them win seven of their first 10 games.
But Toronto never recovered after Victor Rask scored a go-ahead goal midway through the second period. Brock McGinn and Jooris put the game away with insurance goals.
Elias Lindholm and Teravainen also scored for the Hurricanes (4-3-1), who ended a two-game losing skid. Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman and Dominic Moore had the goals for Toronto (7-3-0).
Rask's goal came after a poor clearing effort by Andreas Borgman behind the Toronto net. Teravainen took possession and fed the puck to Rask, who one-timed it past Andersen.
McGinn made it 5-3 by faking a slapshot and snapping the puck over Andersen's right shoulder for his first goal of the season. Jooris capped the scoring by burying a pass from Jeff Skinner into the top corner.
The Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,070 was silenced early. Jooris potted his first goal of the season by one-timing a pass from Trevor van Riemsdyk at 2:20 of the opening period.
Teravainen made it a two-goal lead just 33 seconds later. He snapped home a loose puck off the faceoff for his third goal of the campaign.
Toronto halved the lead at 9:19 as Patrick Marleau flipped a pass to Matthews, who was left alone in front. Matthews beat Darling on the glove side for his eighth goal.
Andersen made an all-world glove save on Noah Hanifin later in the stanza. He snared the slapshot from the hash mark despite being prone in the butterfly position.
Carolina scored on its next opportunity, however, as Lindholm tipped in a shot from the point to make it 3-1 at 16:08.
The Maple Leafs pressed in the second period and were rewarded with two quick goals.
Moore flipped in a rebound near the crease at 5:47 and Hyman tied it at 7:11. It was Moore's third goal of the season and the fourth for Hyman.
In the third, McGinn tallied at 10:15 and Jooris scored at 12:19.
The Maple Leafs will wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Notes: The Hurricanes return home to play the St. Louis Blues on Friday. ... Defenceman Connor Carrick and forwards Eric Fehr and Josh Leivo were scratches for Toronto. Blue-liner Klas Dahlbeck and forward Janne Kuokkanen sat for Carolina. ... The Maple Leafs entered play leading the NHL with an average of 4.4 goals per game. ... Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic was in attendance. He grew up in Thornhill, Ont., just north of Toronto.
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