NHL Preview from The Sports Network |
Thursday, February 19th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (32-16-9-3) at Carolina Hurricanes (18-27-11-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs hope to move back atop the
Northeast Division tonight after facing the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center.
The Leafs and Ottawa Senators are tied for the Northeast lead with 76 points
-- one ahead of Boston. The Sens, who made a huge splash with the acquisition
of Peter Bondra on Wednesday, will host Atlanta this evening.
Toronto has lost two of its last three games, including Tuesday's 5-2 setback
to the visiting Bruins. Glen Murray posted a goal and an assist to lead
Owen Nolan and Matt Stajan scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost for the second
time in six games (3-2-1). Stajan has now posted goals in three consecutive
Toronto played its third consecutive game without starting goaltender Ed
Belfour, who is nursing a sore back. Eddie the Eagle could return Saturday
against Montreal at the earliest.
The Maple Leafs are 5-0-1 in their last six road games entering tonight's
Carolina, meanwhile, ended a six-game winless streak (0-4-2) with a 3-1 win
over visiting Florida on Monday. Kevin Weekes made 20 saves in Carolina's 3-1
victory over Florida at the RBC Center on Monday. Weekes came within 50
seconds of setting a new franchise record with his seventh shutout of the
Sean Hill and Pavel Brendl scored for Carolina, which won for the first time
at home in eight games (1-5-2).
Weekes has already tied Arturs Irbe's franchise record of six shutouts in a
season. Irbe achieved the feat during the 1998-99 and 2000-01 campaigns.
Speaking of Irbe, he was recalled by the club on Wednesday after spending the
entire season with Johnstown of the ECHL. The veteran netminder replaces Jamie
Storr, who was 0-8-2 this campaign, as Weekes' backup.
The Hurricanes will host Boston on Saturday.
Toronto and Carolina have split two meetings this season, both winning in the
other's building. The Canes snapped a six-game series winless streak (0-5-1)
with a 2-0 win on January 27.
02/19 10:15:13 ET