NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, November 19th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (3-11-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (3-12-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to end a lengthy slide
tonight, when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center in a clash
between the bottom-two teams in the Eastern Conference.
The Maple Leafs picked up two of their three wins this season on back-to-back
nights, beating Carolina and Detroit on November 6 and 7, respectively. Since
then, however, Toronto has dropped four in a row and each of those losses came
Carolina, meanwhile, ended a franchise-record 14-game losing streak with
Sunday's home victory over Minnesota, but the 'Canes were back in the loss
column Tuesday night after dropping a shootout test in Montreal. The
Hurricanes are in the midst of their longest point streak of the season, as
they've posted an 1-0-2 record in the last three outings.
Toronto was dealt a 3-2 setback by the Senators as Mike Fisher scored two
goals, including the game-winner late in the second period.
"I'm frustrated that some people don't get that we're talking about turnovers.
One brief moment where you're not concentrating enough to the right job it
ends up in your net -- neutral zone turnovers all three goals," said Leafs
head coach Ron Wilson.
Phil Kessel and Niklas Hagman notched goals for the Maple Leafs, while Vesa
Toskala yielded three goals on 21 shots. Jonas Gustavsson is expected to
get the start in net tonight for Toronto and the Swedish rookie will try to
rebounded after giving up a total of seven goals in losing his last two
Kessel continued his hot play for the Leafs and has eight points (5 goals, 3
assists) in seven games this year after missing the first month of the
campaign following offseason shoulder surgery. He has notched a point in six
straight games after being kept off the scoresheet in his season debut.
Toronto is 2-5-3 as the guest this year and is capping a brief two-game road
trip tonight. The Leafs will play their next two games at Air Canada Centre,
hosting Washington on Saturday and the New York Islanders on Monday.
The Hurricanes went six shootout rounds with the Canadiens on Tuesday, but
in the end it was Maxim Lapierre who scored the only goal in the finale
segment to lead Montreal to the 3-2 decision at Bell Centre.
"We played a very solid road game," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice.
"Overall, we played very well."
Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen scored for the woeful Hurricanes, who fell to
1-5-2 in the month of November.
Michael Leighton started between the pipes for Carolina and finished with 10
saves, but left the game early in the second period due to a groin strain.
Manny Legace took over in the second period and he allowed one goal on 24
Legace will get the start tonight and Justin Peters, who was recalled from
Albany on Wednesday, will serve as the backup in place of the injured
Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen missed the last game with a lower-body
injury and is questionable for tonight. Forward Scott Walker, who sat out on
Tuesday with an upper-body injury, is also questionable.
The 'Canes are playing the first of two straight in Raleigh tonight and are
3-5-2 as the host this year. Carolina will also welcome Tampa Bay to RBC on
Toronto notched a 3-2 regulation win in Raleigh when the clubs met on November
6. It was just the second win for the Maple Leafs in their last six overall
encounters with Carolina. Toronto also picked up its second straight win at
11/19 10:42:37 ET