Nazem Kadri’s power play goal late in the third period forced overtime, leading to an eventual 2-1 shootout win by the Leafs over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. Toronto’s record improved to 6-2-2 in the past 10 games with the victory.
The tally was redemption for the beleaguered Leafs centre, breaking a personal 15-game scoring drought dating back to October 16 in Columbus. Although Kadri has just two goals on the year, his 84 shots on goal is the third-highest total in the NHL, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (92) and Taylor Hall (85).
Friday’s game had little to offer in terms of entertainment value as neither team could generate any sustained rhythm, or pressure. After forty minutes of scoreless hockey, the first goal of the evening came courtesy of Justin Faulk, a squeaker from a bad angle that beat James Reimer at 7:47 of the third period.
Kadri’s goal came at the 16:27 mark of the final frame after Carolina’s Elias Lindholm was called for a faceoff violation.
With the enusing shootout tied at one apiece in the fourth round, Lindholm had a chance to put his team ahead. But he was denied after Reimer, initially over-committing on Lindholm’s fake attempt, recovered to make his finest save of the evening. The shootout was ended by Joffrey Lupul, one round later.
“We found a way tonight. It wasn’t the prettiest game, obviously,” Kadri said to reporters afterwards. “They’re structurally pretty good, it’s tough to get some room out there for the most part Reims played great. He kept it a one-goal game and we were able to find one on the power play.”