The Hurricanes are visiting the "center of the hockey universe" for a game tonight against the Maple Leafs and they will be hoping to put an end to their season worst, five game losing streak. The club is still in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 47 points while the Leafs are coming up right behind them with 41.
The two teams just met last week in Raleigh with the Leafs coming out on top, 6-4.
The Hurricanes have tweaked their lines since then and will have another new look for tonight. Coach Paul Maurice said that he will move Justin Williams to the Eric Staal line and Tuomo Ruutu will move down to play on the Rod Brind'Amour line. While the move could certainly stimulate both Williams and Staal, will it hamper Ruutu, who has been one of the Hurricanes most productive players up to this point?
Will Maurice stay with these lines long enough to give them a chance to get acquainted, or will he continue to change things up as he has seemingly done the past couple of games? Not too long ago, the coaching staff moved Ray Whitney to the Staal line, but it didn't seem like they had much of a chance to gel before the lines were switched back.
Tonight's projected lines are as follows-
- Staal, Williams, Samsonov
- Cullen, Whitney, Walker
- Brind'Amour, LaRose, Ruutu
- Sutter, Eaves, Bayda
The biggest question of the day so far though, is who will start in net? With a back-to-back scenario coming up for the Canes, this is a perfect opportunity to slide Michael Leighton into the mix so that he can get some work. But will that happen tonight in Toronto or tomorrow night in Pittsburgh?
Cam Ward has started 11 games in a row, so he is due for a break. As soon as we get official word on the starter, we will post it here.
Each of the games against Toronto have been high scoring affairs so far this season. The Canes won the first meeting 6-4, then won the followup 5-4, but of course most recently lost last week, 6-4.
Carolina holds an all-time 44-31-12-1 regular season record against the Leafs.
The game starts at 7:30 but will not be broadcast locally. You can look on Center Ice for the listing, or check out this online alternative source.