James Reimer got to know fellow goaltender Eddie Lack personally from training together in the off-season.
That only made Thursday’s loss more difficult for Reimer.
It was the 28-year-old’s first shutout since joining Carolina in the summer and came after being blanked 5-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the week.
“A great guy and a great goalie,” said Reimer, who trained with Lack in Kelowna, B.C., in August. “Not sure what his stats are at, but they don’t reflect the kind of goalie he is.
“You wish him all the best but it would have been nice to beat him 1-0.”
Lack, who struggled to a 6-8-3 record with a 2.97 goals-against average and .891 save percentage heading into Thursday, has started the past three games for the Hurricanes. He knows that this is his opportunity while veteran Cam Ward is sidelined with a concussion.
“Everyone knew I wasn’t happy with my game,” said Lack. “It was good to come back, play strong and put a nice performance together.
“I obviously want to play all the time… I am just looking forward to the challenge but obviously I am hoping for Cam to come back as soon as possible.”
Jordan Staal scored the winner for Carolina (21-19-8) at 2:54 of overtime after chipping in a rebound from a Justin Faulk shot that Reimer originally turned away.
Reimer stopped 39 shots for the Maple Leafs (17-20-8) — including 14 in the third period just to earn his team a single point.
“It was a grinders game and they got the last rebound, it’s unfortunate.” said Reimer. “You want to win those games but we got a point.”
“He played a really good game and kept his team in it,” said Lack.
Carolina got out to a quick start and had its first scoring chance just a minute in off the stick of Eric Staal.
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau had Toronto’s first real chance to score on a goal-mouth scramble while on the power play midway through the period, but couldn’t get good wood on a Lack rebound.
Shots were 8-1 Hurricanes six minutes into the contest, but the Leafs picked up their play and led 12-10 after the first period.
Toronto started the second period the same way it ended the first by controlling much of the possession and limited the Hurricanes from any sort of set up in the offensive zone.
Tyler Bozak made an inside-out move to get around Faulk for a partial breakaway four minutes in, but Lack was there to keep the game scoreless. And Michael Grabner was turned away by Lack on a short-handed breakaway a few minutes later.
Reimer went 11 minutes without facing a shot in the second, but had to be sharp when Dion Phaneuf went to the box for delay of game — making three saves including one on a re-direct to keep it 0-0.
Shots were 25-22 Toronto through 40 minutes.
“Both teams were playing well defensively and clogging it up — first goal wins most likely,” Reimer said about the situation heading into the third period.
The third lacked any real danger or scoring threats, with both teams waiting for the other to make a mistake to pounce on. Carolina, though held a 14-3 edge in shots and took a 37-27 shot lead into overtime, where Jordan Staal produced his 11th goal of the season for the two points
“They were better in the first 10 minutes, we were better in the next 30 minutes, they were better in the third period,” said Leafs coach Mike Babcock.
“In the end they found a way to make a play and we didn’t.”
Notes: Forward Brad Boyes was skating in his 800th career NHL game… Forward Josh Leivo and defenceman Frank Corrado were healthy scratches for the Leafs… Carolina centre Eric Staal entered the night with 20 goals and 43 points in 38 career games against Toronto.