The Toronto Maple Leafs are in town to battle the Carolina Hurricanes in what many are calling a battle for last place. Of course it's still early in the season, but both teams have certainly struggled out of the gate. While the Leafs were able to chalk up their first win of the season against the Ducks last week, the Canes have dropped 10 games in a row and have not won since October 9.
Carolina is also last in the NHL in scoring and last in regards to taking penalties.
Yesterday, the Hurricanes thought they might be facing some serious injury issues with Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu so they recalled 2008 first round draft choice, Zach Boychuk. But all three skaters were on the ice at this morning's skate. The official word is that Ruutu will play while Whitney and Boychuk will be game time decisions. Boychuk was told he would probably play, which means Whitney would probably be out, but who knows? We will not find out for sure until game time.
Of course, Eric Staal is still out and will miss the game. Brandon Sutter will play and thanks to a directive from the front office, is expected to see more playing time. He had been practicing with the Rod Brind`Amour line, but there is no sense even guessing about the lines at this point with players still in question right up until game time.
One thing for sure, Cam Ward will be in net for the Canes. It looks like Jonas Gustavsson, "The Monster" will tend the pipes for the Leafs. (love that nickname)
|2009 - Cam Ward||13||762||2||8||38||2.99||376||338||.899||0|
|2009 - Jonas Gustavsson||6||342||1||2||17||2.98||171||154||.901||0|
The Leafs lost their last game in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Phil Kessel returned from injury for that game and looked good in his first game back. Watch for him to continue to impress tonight.
Tomas Kaberle leads the Leafs with 17 points. Will he try to exact revenge on the Canes because of the early buy-out of his brother Frantisek's contract?
|2009 - Tomas Kaberle||13||2||15||17||-4||4||1||0||0||0||25||8.0|
The Canes are still lead by the eight points each of Ray Whitney and Jussi Jokinen. The boys are still thinking they are a playoff team, but they have a very long way to go before most people will buy what Paul Maurice is trying to sell.
Since this is a battle between two teams tied for last place, will we see a 0-0 tie or a 5-5 slugfest? Either way, odds are that it will come down to a shootout.
Game time is at 7 and the contest will be telecast by FS Carolinas, or catch the play by play on 99.9 The Fan. We will have an open thread starting at 6:30.
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