Toronto suffered an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Philadelphia in front of a booing home crowd at Air Canada Centre on Saturday. Darcy Tucker netted the lone goal for the Maple Leafs as veteran goaltender Ed Belfour allowed all seven goals, including three in the first eight minutes of play.
“I wish I could explain it. I’m quite disappointed,” Toronto coach Pat Quinn said of his team’s dismal performance. “I’d even like to think there was an effort, but there wasn’t a whole lot of thinking out there. The harder we tried the more mistakes we made.
“We had very little confidence at the back end. We’re not believing in each other right now. We’re not playing as a team.”
Toronto is still without top forward Nik Antropov, who suffered a separated shoulder in a 3-2 overtime loss to Atlanta on Monday. Quinn said Saturday that Antropov will not require surgery on the shoulder.
The Hurricanes are coming off a disheartening 4-3 loss to the unbeaten Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Goaltender Kevin Weekes, who has posted two shutouts in eight starts this season, suffered his second straight loss when he allowed the tiebreaking goal to Tampa Bay’s Cory Stillman on a shot from center ice with 8:09 to play.
“If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have been in position to have a chance,” Carolina defenseman Sean Hill said in defense of Weekes, who made 24 saves.
“He’s been our best player … by a long shot.”
STANDINGS (through Nov. 1): Maple Leafs - 11 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northeast Division. Hurricanes - 8 points, 4th place, 7 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Joe Nieuwendyk, Tucker and Antropov, 3 goals; Mats Sundin, 5 assists; Nieuwendyk and Sundin, 6 points; Tie Domi, 30 PIM. Hurricanes - Josef Vasicek, 6 goals and 9 points; Jeff O’Neill, 7 assists; Jesse Boulerice 29 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 31): Maple Leafs - Power play: 12.7 percent (7 for 55), 24th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.6 percent (46 for 55), 15th. Hurricanes - Power play: 7.7 percent (3 for 39), 29th. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (33 for 39), 13th (tied).
SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 3-0-1.
LAST MEETING: Mar. 25; Tied, 3-3. At Raleigh, O’Neill scored with 33 seconds left in regulation as the Hurricanes avoided a fourth straight loss to Toronto.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 3-2-1-0 on the road; Hurricanes - 1-1-1-0 at home.