The road weary Toronto Maple Leafs, (13-17-4) just made it back in town in time to face the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, (15-15-4) for a showdown at the ACC tonight. The Leafs defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-1 on Sunday night but were stuck in Jersey because of the East Coast snowstorm since then. After sitting and waiting on their plane and their bus off and on for a good part of two days, they finally arrived back in Toronto this morning.
The Canes are currently riding a three game losing streak and have had a lot of trouble finding the back of the net in recent games. They scored a total of 23 goals in their last 10 outings, averaging 2.3 goals per game. They have allowed 27 goals in the same time frame. The team is 5-4-1 in those 10 games and for now, sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Leafs are 5-5-0 in their last 10 and lost three in a row before their win over the Devils. They are in 13th place.
The Hurricanes are also having major trouble with their powerplay as they are only connecting at 15.5% of their chances, putting them at 27th place in the league. While the coaching staff and players each point for the need to put more pucks on net, for whatever reason, time after time they don't seem to be able to get that done.
The penalty kill is not any better as the club kills 77.9% of penalties, also good for 27th in the league.
The good news? The Maple Leafs are 28th in the league on the kill, (76.6%) although they are placed 20th in the league with the man advantage, (16.3%).
Cam Ward will certainly be in net for the Canes while the Leafs will most likely go with Sunday night's winner, Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson.
|2010 - Cam Ward||29||1650||14||11||71||2.58||943||872||.925||1|
|2010 - Jonas Gustavsson||19||1007||5||10||50||2.98||492||442||.898||0|
There were no reported changes in the lines at the Carolina skate this morning.
- Staal, Cole, Samsonov
- Skinner, Ruutu, Jokinen
- Sutter, Dwyer, LaRose
- Carter, Boychuk, Bodie
- Gleason, McBain
- Pitkanen, Corvo
- Harrison, White
The Leafs are led in scoring by Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski, and ex-'Hawk Kris Versteeg. Where is Phil Kessel, the superstar who was worth sacrificing two first round draft choices for? He's currently fifth on the team in scoring and has a team worst (+/-) -14.
|2010 - Clarke MacArthur||34||9||18||27||-3||18||3||0||2||57|
|2010 - Mikhail Grabovski||34||12||14||26||1||18||4||0||1||90|
|2010 - Kris Versteeg||33||10||13||23||-13||25||5||0||0||87|
Since this is a game between two teams who have trouble scoring, it probably means this will be a high-scoring affair tonight. Will the Canes be more timid regarding their hitting since they have been given major penalties in each of the last two games? Will the travel problems affect the Leafs' energy level and will waffles hit the ice again at the ACC?
This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. The Canes have won 9 of the last 12 overall, and four in a row in Toronto.
As always, it should be interesting tonight. FS Carolinas will have the action starting at 7 and we will have the ever-enlightning open game thread cranked up at 6:30.