Maple Leafs no match for Hurricanes in Carolina

Carolina Hurricanes defencemen Justin Faulk fights with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul...

Carolina Hurricanes defencemen Justin Faulk fights with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul at PNC Arena in Raleigh, Jan. 9, 2014. (JAMES GUILLORY/USA Today)

Lance Hornby, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 PM ET

RALEIGH - The wild misbehaviour of the Maple Leafs could now cost them wild-card playoff status.

And there’s no indication coach Randy Carlyle can reverse their fall anytime soon. As long as Toronto scraped together points from shootouts, its goalies over-achieved and the Metropolitan Division sucked, there wasn’t reason to fret.

But Carlyle’s constant carping for his team to tighten up, smarten up and psyche up has fallen on deaf ears — to the stage where Thursday’s 6-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes leaves them with just four regulation wins since Nov. 8. This current three-game losing streak against Metro teams who were all behind them — all of whom had either travel or back-to-back game issues — used up Toronto’s last grace points.

Carolina is now equal to the Leafs with 47 points.

Outscored 17-5 the past three games since their feel-good moment in the Winter Classic, Toronto continued its trend to start passively, only pushing back when the score got lop-sided. So much for James Reimer’s bid to take advantage of Jonathan Bernier’s recent troubles in net, though in a tiring refrain, the six goals on 36 shots weren’t all his fault, one power play, one shorthanded.


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