This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s tilt featuring the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.
The Hurricanes will be on the ice at Air Canada Centre for an 11:30 a.m. morning skate. We’ll have rinkside updates then, and a preview of tonight’s game is below.Last updated: 3:00 p.m.
PREGAME: PETERS3:00 p.m.
Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the horde of media in Toronto following a limited morning skate. Here's a sampling of what he discussed.
On the team's last game in Pittsburgh: "I don't think we were quite ourselves that day. We had played a lot of hockey leading into that game, and it was an obviously disappointing result. We've got to bounce back."
On Lack's improved play: "I think he's done a bit better job getting bigger, being out a little bit more, challenging, being assertive in that regard. He's a little bit more comfortable in his surroundings. We know how he wants to play."
LIMITED MORNING SKATE IN TORONTO11:30 a.m.
A smaller group of players took the ice this morning at Air Canada Centre due to an issue with the ice in the neutral zone.
Among the group ... Gerbe, Nestrasil, Lindholm, McClement, Nash, Malone, Terry, Di Giuseppe, Nordstrom, Rask, Skinner, Hanifin, Liles, Jordan, Pesce, Slavin, Lack and Altshuller.
We'll have some updates inside the Canes room in just a bit.
CANES PROJECTED LINEUP6:00 a.m.
Here’s how the Hurricanes have lined up in practice this week and how we expect they’ll look tonight against Toronto.
If anything changes at the morning skate, we’ll have updates for you right here.
CANES MAKE QUICK STOP IN TORONTO6:00 a.m.
Following a welcomed three-day gap in the schedule, the Carolina Hurricanes begin another stretch of four games in six days that will then lead the team into the All-Star break.
Before returning home for three straight games, the Hurricanes make a quick stop in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs for the second of three times this season.
The two teams first met this season on Nov. 20 in the Leafs’ lone visit to Raleigh, and it was a tight, low-scoring affair. It was a scoreless match heading into the third period before Brad Malone scored his first goal of the season to give the Canes a 1-0 lead, something they would hold onto until the 16:27 mark when Nazem Kadri tied the game on the power play. Toronto would then claim the extra point in the shootout.
The Hurricanes are 12-6-4 since Dec. 5, having only lost twice in regulation in their last 10 games. After stringing together a season-high four straight games and accumulating points in five consecutive contests, the Canes were blanked 5-0 by the Penguins on Sunday in Pittsburgh. A scheduled day off Monday preceded two critical practice days.
“It’s a great little block of time we have to finish up prior to the All-Star break,” head coach Bill Peters said after Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve got to take advantage of it.”
The Maple Leafs defeated Philadelphia 3-2 on Tuesday night in a rebound effort after losing five straight.
“I watched them play last night, and I thought they were excellent,” Peters said Wednesday. “They had a lot of scoring chances and had the puck lots. …. Goals will be at a premium, and we’ll have to pay the price to score.”
With 47 games played, the Hurricanes find themselves three points back of a wild card spot with a collection of teams to leap frog. The Leafs are 10 points back of the second wild card.
“We’ve got a lot of hockey left, in reality. It’s all about us, how we play and looking after our own business,” Peters said. “We have two games coming up back-to-back against teams in the Eastern Conference. That’s a huge priority.”
Goaltender Cam Ward was diagnosed with a concussion on Wednesday after experiencing dizziness at practice the day before.
“Symptoms started to come on and he felt worse as we went,” Peters said. “He got tested and now he goes through the protocol.”
In the meantime, Daniel Altshuller was recalled from Charlotte and Eddie Lack figures to take center stage in the crease.
“It’s a great opportunity for Eddie is the way I look at it,” Peters said. “We go day-by-day and game-by-game. I’m not afraid to play whoever needs to play in order for us to win. We’ll play the guy who gives us the best chance to win.”
After missing two games with a lower-body injury, defenseman Brett Pesce is expected to return to the Hurricanes’ lineup. Forward Phil Di Giuseppe, now cleared to play following a concussion, returned to Raleigh after a brief stint in Charlotte and will play tonight.CANESPR NOTES:
The Hurricanes are 15-5-2 in back-to-back games this season, including a 8-3-0 record in the first halves and a 7-2-2 record in the latter halves. … The Hurricanes have won 21 of the last 30 meetings between the clubs, and they are 12-6-2 in Toronto since the start of the 2003-04 season. … Eddie Lack played in his 100th career game in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
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