NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 13th (All times Eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (9-18-4) at Toronto Maple Leafs (15-11-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The last time the Hurricanes faced the Maple Leafs, second- year center Jeff Skinner was a key offensive contributor. Carolina, though, could be without the reigning Calder Trophy winner for this evening's rematch at Toronto.
Skinner had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 home win over the Maple Leafs, the Hurricanes' sixth victory in their last eight in this series. Skinner's goal was the game-winner and came with under seven minutes to play in regulation, giving him three goals in five career matchups with Toronto.
The 19-year-old, though, missed Friday's 4-2 loss to Winnipeg and Carolina said on Sunday that Skinner is out with an undisclosed injury. It also placed backup goaltender Brian Boucher on injured reserve due to injury.
Skinner leads the 'Canes with 12 goals and 24 points and his club found itself in a 4-0 hole versus the Jets before getting goals from Justin Faulk and Brandon Sutter. Still, Carolina lost for the eighth time in nine games and fell to 1-5 under head coach Kirk Muller, who took over for a fired Paul Maurice on Nov. 28.
Cam Ward got the start on Friday, but allowed four goals on 30 shots before getting pulled in the second period. He yielded a score just 34 seconds into the game and was replaced by Mike Murphy, who made seven saves.
"It's the old saying, catch-up hockey is losing hockey," Muller said. "We got to learn from it, we got to come out better and we have to play the first period like we played the third."
After being acquired from Montreal earlier in the day for Tomas Kaberle, blueliner Jaroslav Spacek assisted on both Hurricane goals as they fell to 1-2 on a four-game road trip and 4-9-2 as the guest overall this season.
Carolina had won five in a row at Toronto before getting shut out 3-0 in its last trip there on Feb. 3.
The Maple Leafs will look to avoid a fifth loss in six games this evening after dropping a 4-2 decision to the hosting Capitals on Friday. All four of Washington's goals came on the power play, while Cody Franson and Phil Kessel lit the lamp for Toronto.
James Reimer gave up all four goals on 25 shots in the loss.
"For the most part I thought we outplayed them tonight," said Reimer. "But we gave them some power plays and they took advantage of them."
Kessel's 18th goal of the season tied him with Ottawa's Milan Michalek for the most in the league, while his 36 points rank second. Kessel had both Toronto goals in the earlier loss to Carolina
The Leafs play four of their next five at home.
12/13 10:51:43 ET