TORONTO (AP) — Erik Kallgren made 35 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Thursday night for the rookie goalie’s second straight victory.
“It’s surreal,” he said. “But I just try to enjoy it.”
Mitch Marner, Ilya Mikheyev and Ondrej Kase scored for Toronto. The Maple Leafs were again without NHL goals leader Auston Matthews as he served the second of a two-game suspension.
Ethan Bear and Vincent Trocheck scored for Carolina, and Frederik Andersen stopped 18 shots.
“We have to capitalize on our chances, which we didn’t, and then it magnifies the mistakes you make,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You’re going to make mistakes … they capitalized and they got the win.”
The Maple Leafs sported their green and white Toronto St. Pats jerseys — a nod to the franchise’s moniker from 1919 through 1927 — on St. Patrick’s Day.
Called up from the minors last week with No. 1 netminder Jack Campbell out because of a rib injury, Kallgren got his second NHL start in place of the scuffling Petr Mrazek after shutting out the Dallas Stars 4-0 on Tuesday night.
“You would think it would be natural for him to get caught up in it and really excited. … I’m not sure if I’ve seen him smile yet,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “That just speaks to his demeanor. I think all of that plays into how this has gone for him. He’s not getting eaten up by the moment and the opportunity.”
All the 25-year-old Swede’s done in his short time on the job is steady a Toronto crease that had been a major issue since Jan. 1 as the Maple Leafs put in their second consecutive solid defensive effort. Kallgren made 35 saves Tuesday to become fourth goalie in franchise history to have a shutout in his first NHL start.
Bear ended Kallgren’s regulation shutout streak at 132 minutes, 12 seconds on a shot through the five-hole that cut Toronto’s lead to 2-1 at 4:09 of the third.
Kase restored Toronto’s two-goal lead with his third goal in three games at 7:20 when he took a sweet saucer pass from William Nylander to bury his 14th.
Andersen played five seasons with the Maple Leafs before departing for Carolina via free agency in July.
Hurricanes: Host Washington on Friday night.
Maple Leafs: At Nashville on Saturday night.