Carolina Hurricanes vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 7:00 pm EDT
Air Canada Centre - Toronto, Ont.
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas HD Radio - 99.9 The Fan
Hurricanes Record: 15-14-2 (32 pts.)
Maple Leafs Record: 18-12-4 (40 pts.)
Tonight the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs meet for their third and final game of the regular season. The Hurricanes won 4-1 in Toronto on February 4th, and repeated with a 3-1 home win on February 14th. Both teams last played on Tuesday night with the Maple Leafs winning 3-2 at home against the Florida Panthers while the Hurricanes suffered a 4-1 home loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
The Hurricanes left yesterday on a three-game Canada road trip that starts tonight in Toronto, then moves to Winnipeg for an early-afternoon game on Saturday, then wraps up in Montreal on Monday. The team will head back to Raleigh immediately following Monday night's game to face the Capitals at home on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes have not won since they faced the Capitals in Washington over two weeks ago. Since that shutout win they have gone 0-5-1 in their last six games and have fallen to 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points behind the division-leading Winnipeg Jets.
However, the Hurricanes have a respectable 8-5-2 record on the road so far this season.
Justin Peters will be the third Hurricanes goaltender to face the Leafs this season, behind Cam Ward (4-1 win on February 4) and Dan Ellis (3-1 win on February 14). Peters has started once against the Leafs, a 32-save performance in a 5-1 road win on March 2, 2010. John Muse has been recalled from the Charlotte Checkers and will make his second NHL appearance in backup for Peters.
Chad LaRose did not practice with the team on Wednesday nor did he travel with the team to Toronto. He is reported to have the flu. He may join the team on the road later, but his status is unknown past tonight's game. Bobby Sanguinetti and Dan Ellis, both of whom are currently on injured reserve, did travel with the team although their dates for returning to the line-up are unknown. Cam Ward (knee) and Justin Faulk (knee) also remain on injured reserve.
Jussi Jokinen and Tim Wallace were placed on waivers Tuesday, and both cleared waivers yesterday. Wallace has been assigned to Charlotte; Jokinen is traveling with the team.
The Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate today.
Maple Leafs Notes
The Maple Leafs are currently in a strong position to contend for a playoff berth for the first time since 2004. They are 6th in the Eastern Conference with 40 points, and fourth in a deep Northeast Division. They are eight points ahead of the Hurricanes.
While the Canes are on a six-game winless streak, the Leafs have a six-game streak going themselves, as they attempt to earn points in seven straight games tonight.
Forward Nazem Kadri leads the Maple Leafs in scoring (14 goals, 21 assists) and has ten points in the last six games. Kadri was the NHL's third star for the week ending March 24th.
Joffrey Lupul has six goals in four games since returning to the line-up from a broken forearm (and having served a two-game suspension during that time as well). Lupul scored two goals in the third period Tuesday night in the 3-2 win against the Panthers.
It is unknown whether James Reimer or Ben Scrivens will start in net. Reimer and Scrivens split the previous two games versus the Hurricanes, and Scrivens started Tuesday night in the win against the Panthers. Reimer is 11-4-4 this season with a 2.63 GAA and .918 save percentage, while Scrivens is 7-8-0 with a 2.59 GAA and a matching .918 save percentage.
Defenseman John-Michael Liles (ankle) and forward Clarke MacArthur (upper body) are currently listed as day-to-day. Forward Leo Komarov (upper body) is on injured reserve.
Canes News Clips
As expected, there has been a lot of press around Alex Semin's contract extension, perhaps none more important than the comments from the player himself. If you haven't listened already, take the time to hear Semin speak regarding his contract extension in an interview with the media after Tuesday's pre-game skate. While Semin has participated in a small handful of one-on-one scheduled interviews in English during his eight-year NHL career, this is his first media scrum where he has spoken in English and without an interpreter. Quite a milestone. It's worth a listen for that fact alone, but there's also a little insight and humor to go along as well.
Kirk Muller also spoke at length about Semin in his Tuesday media interview, and it's also well worth the listen to to hear more about the relationship between player and coach.
Michael Smith wrote about the road trip yesterday in his Tracking the Storm blog (Hurricanes Notebook: Ready to Bounce Back on Road). Check out comments from Tuomo Ruutu about his return to the line-up after missing most of the season with hip surgery.
Jim Rutherford was interviewed by E.J. Hradek and Steve Mears yesterday afternoon on NHL Live, you can see/hear it here. Some pretty candid comments from the general manager about the current state of affairs, his plans for the trade deadline, Jussi Jokinen's waiver situation among other topics.
More Kirk Muller audio, from Wednesday's practice before leaving for Toronto.
Eric and Jordan Staal will be on TSN's Off The Record with Michael Landsberg today. Tune in here for details and video.