RALEIGH -- Good or bad teams, Eastern or Western Conference, American or Canadian, the Carolina Hurricanes do not discriminate when it comes to losing.
The Canes dropped their 11th straight on Friday night, a 3-2 disappointment to the equally generous Toronto Maple Leafs, who are riding high in 29th place in the NHL standings compared to the basement the Canes inhabit.
Jason Blake's power-play goal in the third period completed a two-goal comeback for the Maple Leafs, who doubled their win total at the hapless Canes' expense.
Carolina, which has won twice in 15 games — and not since Oct. 9 — after reaching the conference finals last spring, has dropped consecutive games to the two other teams drifting with flotsam and jetsam at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Canes started Friday's game, just their fourth home date in a month, like a team intent on jump-starting their season, or least giving Toronto the last-place anchor. Even without front-liners Eric Staal and Ray Whitney, the Canes scored the first two goals of the game and generally dominated the first period.
The 2-0 lead disappeared when Toronto returned the favor in the second period, which set the stage for Blake's game-winner at 11:36 in the third.
If there is a bright spot in the franchise's worst start (2-10-3) since moving to North Carolina in 1997, Brandon Sutter continued to be a bright spot in a gloomy fall for the Canes. The second-year center scored his third goal in four games, a sweet backhand finish at 7:51 in the first off a redirected pass from Rod Brind'Amour.
Sergei Samsonov made it 2-0 on a rebound of a Andrew Alberts slapshot from the left point at 17:22 in the first. Then the Canes' offense went on hiatus without Staal, who missed his second straight game with an "upper body" injury, and Whitney, who was still feeling the after effects of a cross-check from Wednesday's loss in Florida.
The Leafs cut into the Canes' lead just 72 seconds into the second period with center John Mitchell's one-timer from the right point.
Alexei Ponikarovsky's pass off the boards, around Canes defenseman Aaron Ward and winger Jussi Jokinen, gave the winger a head of steam into the Canes' zone and his centering pass hit winger Nikolai Kulemin on the tape in front of the net at 7:23 in the second to even the score.
The one-goal loss represented progress for the Canes, who had been out-scored 19-4 in the previous four losses, and none closer than three goals.