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Game Day: Canes vs. Maple Leafs

The Canes won the first two meetings this season against the Leafs, each by identical 4-1 scores. Can they complete the sweep tonight?

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Captain Eric Staal went beast mode in a 4-1 win against the Leafs on January 19th.
Captain Eric Staal went beast mode in a 4-1 win against the Leafs on January 19th.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
February 20, 2015 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 FM The Fan
SB Nation Rival Blog - Pension Plan Puppets

Fancy Stats

Hurricanes Leafs
Record 20-29-7 23-30-5
Points 47 51
Division Rank 8th Metro 7th Atlantic
Conference Rank 15th EC 14th EC
Streak Lost 1 Lost 1

Power Play % 17.6% 19.4%
Penalty Kill % 87.2% 83.1%
Goals/Game 2.20 2.74
Goals Against/Game 2.66 3.02
Shots/Game 30.1 29.4
Shots Against/Game 28.0 32.7
ES Goals For % 42.3% 46.2%
ES Corsi For % 51.2% 46.3%
ES PDO 97.1 99.9
PIM/Game 7.2 9.3

Goaltender Ward Bernier
Record 14-19-4 16-18-5
ES Save Percentage .912 .926
GAA 2.43 2.72

Goaltender Khudobin Reimer
Record 6-10-3 7-12-0
ES Save Percentage .904 .906
GAA 2.71 3.20

Stats via and War on Ice

Game Notes

  • The Canes and Leafs wrap up their season series tonight. The Canes have won both prior meetings by identical 4-1 scores, the first in Raleigh on December 18th and the second in Toronto on January 19th. In the latter, Eric Staal went beast mode with two goals and a fight, and Anton Khudobin made 34 saves on 35 shots. The Canes haven't lost a season series to the Leafs since 2006-07.
  • As expected in a match-up between teams near the bottom of the NHL standings, neither team is bringing a lot of momentum into tonight's game. The Canes are coming off a 4-1 loss at home against the Islanders Tuesday night, giving them three losses in their last four games and a 4-4-2 record in their last ten. As for the Leafs, well... since the loss to the Canes in January their record is 1-8-2, and they have lost 23 of their last 27 games, the latest a 3-2 loss to the Panthers on Tuesday night at the ACC.
  • Both teams are playing tonight on the front half of a back-to-back series. After tonight's game the Leafs return home to face the Jets tomorrow, while the Canes will travel to New Jersey to face the Devils.
  • Bill Peters is shuffling forward lines again. Alexander Semin and Victor Rask will be back in after missing the last two games as healthy scratches. Rask will center Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm, and Semin will be on a line with Riley Nash and Jeff Skinner. Andrej Nestrasil will move to the wing on the fourth line. Patrick Dwyer and Chris Terry appear to be the healthy extras.
  • The Canes are down to six healthy defenseman going into the weekend. With the Checkers in desperate need of blue line help, Michal Jordan was reassigned to Charlotte yesterday in time to make last night's game (which the Checkers won, 4-2). Peters said he was confident Jordan would return return back to the Canes line-up. By the way, injured defenseman Ryan Murphy (IR, leg) was the guest on last night's Canes Corner with Mike Maniscalco, and in his radio interview, Murphy commented that his recovery was progressing to the point where he hoped to get back on the ice as early as today's practice.
  • Peters hasn't named a starting goaltender. If it's Cam Ward, it will be his 499th career NHL start.
  • Life in Leafs land is, as per usual, filled with much drama. After trading away Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli on Sunday and with rumors swirling that other names are on the trade block, interim head coach Peter Horachek is trying to deal with the frustration and 'negative energy' and generate pride and motivation.
  • Phil Kessel (22g, 26a, 48p) and James van Riemsdyk (21g, 23a, 44p) still lead the team in points, but both have struggled in five-on-five play, with only two points each since Horachek took over 18 games ago.
  • Captain Dion Phaneuf remains out of the line-up as he recovers from a hand injury. Phaneuf was on the ice for a conditioning skate yesterday but is not practicing with the team. Joffrey Lupul did practice with the team as part of his continuing recovery from a lower body injury, but did not make the trip. Trevor Smith also remains out of the line-up with a lower body injury.
  • The Leafs had six healthy defensemen skating at yesterday's practice, but afterwards Andrew MacWilliam was recalled from the Marlies on an emergency basis, which means a change to the line-up either due to illness/injury or pending trade. If MacWilliam is in the line-up tonight it will be his NHL debut.

Projected line-ups

Hurricanes (from Thursday's practice)

Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Jiri Tlusty
Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin
Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Andrej Nestrasil

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
Tim Gleason - John-Michael Liles
Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

Cam Ward
Anton Khudobin

Injuries and Scratches: Ryan Murphy (IR leg), Patrick Dwyer, Chris Terry

Maple Leafs (from Thursday's practice):

Daniel Winnik - Nazem Kadri - Richard Panik
James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Leo Komarov - Olli Jokinen - David Clarkson
David Booth - Peter Holland - Brandon Kozun

Morgan Rielly - Roman Polak
Jake Gardiner - Korbinian Holzer
Stephane Robidas - Petter Granberg

Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

Injuries and Scratches: Dion Phaneuf (IR hand), Trevor Smith (lower body), Joffrey Lupul (lower body), Andrew MacWilliam (recalled yesterday, did not practice)

In other news, the NHL is rolling out new advanced analytics today, so look for the unveiling of their fancy stats (and mourn the death of 'Corsi' and 'Fenwick' as they get replaced with 'shot attempts'  and 'unblocked shot attempts') on

If you're headed to the game tonight, the Canes have several promotions underway. There's special Family Night ticket pricing, and the first 10,000 fans in the building will receive a set of Upper Deck trading cards. Bring packages of diapers to support the Diaper Drive benefitting Diaper Train of Wake County, and enter a drawing to win player-signed memorabilia. Visit the Hurricanes Promotions page for more details. It's another cold one, so bundle up and travel safely.