The bottom feeders of the NHL are matched up again tonight as the Toronto Maple Leafs, (3-11-5), invade the RBC to tangle with the Carolina Hurricanes, (3-12-5). The teams are tied, (although the Leafs have a game in hand), as each have a league worst 11 points, so the loser of this affair will officially be in last place. This is a rematch of the game on November 6, which Toronto won by a score of 3-2.
Toronto has lost four games in a row, but Carolina is feeling pretty good about earning points in their last three games. (1-0-2)
The Leafs were expected to be in this position as most recognized this would be a rebuilding year for them. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, were projected by many to be a playoff team. But the Canes have been a huge disappointment and have only won a single game in regulation all season long.
The injury bug has made his presence known in Raleigh as Cam Ward, Eric Staal, Scott Walker, Joni Pitkanen, and Michael Leighton will not be available for this game. Tim Conboy was sent to Albany and Patrick Dwyer has been recalled in his place. Justin Peters was recalled yesterday to fill in for Leighton.
The lines could start out pretty much the same as in the Montreal game Tuesday night.
- Sutter, Whitney, Cole
- Cullen, Ruutu, Jokinen
- Brind'Amour, Samsonov, LaRose
- Yelle, Kostopoulos, Dwyer
But of course, look for the lines to be mixed and matched as usual throughout the contest.
Manny Legace will get the nod in net, (if he is healthy at game time) and will face "The Monster", Jonas Gustavsson, the same goalie who shut down the Canes two weeks ago.
|2009 - Manny Legace||3||162||0||1||9||3.33||79||70||.886||0|
|2009 - Jonas Gustavsson||10||530||3||4||27||3.06||278||251||.903||0|
The Leafs are led in scoring by defenseman Tomas Kaberle. Ray Whitney leads Carolina and has points in four straight games.
|2009 - Ray Whitney||18||6||8||14||-1||6||1||0||0||0||35||17.1|
|2009 - Tomas Kaberle||19||2||19||21||-5||6||1||0||0||0||34||5.9|
Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen are also hot players for the Canes.
They have not given up on the season yet in the front office and are still showing hope that they can turn things around. Fanhouse has a recent interview with GM Jim Rutherford posted this morning. (Rutherford Sees Better Things Ahead)
This is what JR had to say about Brandon Sutter:
"We thought he'd play at least half a season at Albany, then we brought him in to help -- and Brandon has come in and been our best player," Rutherford said. "He always projected a player who could have an impact on the organization, but at this age, the offensive skills he's shown are something."
After a three game hiatus, this contest will be televised locally by FS Carolinas! You may also listen at 99.9 The Fan and check out the open thread here starting at 6:30.
Pension Plan Puppets will have the latest, and not so greatest about the Leafs.