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Gameday: Hurricanes at Maple Leafs

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
TORONTO – February, also known as the month in which the Hurricanes played all of their road games in Canada.


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game between 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, videos, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

The Hurricanes are scheduled to be on the ice at Air Canada Centre at 11:30 a.m., where we’ll be posted up to bring you live updates. Until then, a preview of tonight’s match is below.

Last updated: 7:05 p.m.



CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
7:05 p.m.

Here's what you can expect the Canes' lineup to look like tonight when they battle the Maple Leafs.

E. Staal-Rask-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Nash-Versteeg
Terry-McClement-Di Giuseppe

Slavin-Hainsey
Liles-Pesce
Hanifin-Jordan

Ward
Lack



MEET THE PRESS
1:25 p.m.

The media horde in Toronto is always a sight to behold. The media horde in Toronto just days before the trade deadline? You can only imagine.

Eric Staal, of course, was the main target, but since he wasn't around this morning, his brother had to serve as a proxy of sorts.


Head coach Bill Peters was up next. Here's a sampling of what he discussed this morning after the skate.

On Cam Ward's recent stretch: "He's been real good for us, and when he's healthy, that's when he's at his best. Our team game has gotten better to coincide with his goaltending getting better. ... He's on a nice little roll here."

On Eric Staal's status: "He'll go tonight, for sure. He'll play. It's just this time of year. I don't think anyone is quite at 100 percent, so we just thought it would be best if he took a maintenance day."

On Justin Faulk's status: "It hasn't come around as quick as we'd like. He wants to play and did a good job coming in against Philly and practicing yesterday. The ankle didn't respond very well this morning, so that's where that's at."

On the moves made in early December and the current lineup: "We have a very competitive environment to get in and stay in our lineup."



MALONE PLACED ON WAIVERS
12:45 p.m.

Malone
The Carolina Hurricanes have placed Brad Malone on waivers.

Teams have until noon on Friday to claim the 26-year-old forward. If no one claims Malone, the Canes can either opt to keep him on their roster or assign him to Charlotte of the American Hockey League.

Signed by the Hurricanes as a free agent in the summer of 2014, Malone has totaled 20 points (9g, 11a) in 102 games with Carolina. He’s skated in 37 games this season and tallied five points (2g, 3a). He last dressed on Jan. 24 against Calgary.



CANES LINEUP NOTES
12:30 p.m.

Eric Staal did not participate in the Hurricanes' morning skate today, but before the internet gets set ablaze, note that he was feeling a bit under the weather this morning. Not to worry though, head coach Bill Peters said, as Staal is expected to play tonight.

Not expected to play is defenseman Justin Faulk, who limped off the ice after practice on Wednesday. He did not skate with the team this morning but is on the trip.

After a maintenance day on Wednesday, defenseman Brett Pesce returned to the ice this morning and will play.

Without Staal taking part in the skate this morning, line rushes were a bit jumbled, but don't see surprised to see Staal play on the left wing with Victor Rask in the middle.

Cam Ward will get the start in net. He's 7-4-1 in his last 12 starts.




CANES EXPECT TIGHT MATCH VS. LEAFS
6:00 a.m.

With the trade deadline drawing ever closer, the Carolina Hurricanes remain focused on the task at hand as they head to Toronto for a Thursday night match-up with the Maple Leafs.

HURRICANES at MAPLE LEAFS
Hurricanes at Maple Leafs
AIR CANADA CENTRE | 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS SOUTHEAST | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
TWEETMAIL NO. 97: LINE DOMINANCE & MORE
RECAP: WARD LEADS CANES PAST FLYERS
VIDEOS
RAW: BILL PETERS, FEB. 24
RAW: CAM WARD, FEB. 24
HIGHLIGHTS: CAR 3, PHI 1
GAMEDAY LINKS
COOL BARS: WINSTON-SALEM
COOL BARS RAFFLE ITEMS
BROADCAST INFO
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Distractions abound with Monday’s trade deadline looming, but still working to wiggle their way into a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Hurricanes know they have business to attend to.

“They’re getting bombarded. They know that,” head coach Bill Peters said after practice on Wednesday. “It’s just the way it is this time of year. Got to sell some papers, right?”

This marks the Canes’ second trip to Toronto in about a month’s time, the last stop coming on Jan. 21, a 1-0 overtime decision in favor of Carolina. The first meeting between the two teams came on Nov. 20, a 2-1 shootout victory for the Maple Leafs. Notice a trend?

“We’ve played them hard both times, but they’ve been low-scoring, tight, highly-contested games,” Peters said. “I don’t expect anything different.”

The Hurricanes will be looking to build off their 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, a game in which was admittedly not their best effort. But Cam Ward was sharp, stopping 36 of 37 to improve to 7-1-4 in his last 12 starts.

“It wasn’t our best game, but Cam was our best player by a stretch," said Eric Staal, who snapped a 16-game goal drought. “It was nice to get some timely goals and a regulation win against a team that’s trying to catch us.”

“Found a way tonight. The goaltender gave us a chance. I thought he was very good,” Peters said after the game. “We just gutted it out and found a way to get two points.”

After missing six games with a lower-body injury, Justin Faulk returning to game action on Tuesday night. He practiced with the team on Wednesday, as well, and Peters said he responded positively to drawing back into the lineup.

“I think it’s just something where he’s going to be not quite at 100 percent from here to the end. He’s going to have to manage it,” Peters said. “I think he did a good job here today in practice, and that’s a good sign that he was able to skate on back-to-back days.”

Brett Pesce didn’t skate Wednesday, a maintenance day for the rookie defenseman who has been bothered with a lower-body injury for a couple of months.

“It’s that time of year,” Peters said. “Everybody’s got certain injuries, and everyone’s got guys who are dinged up to a certain degree.”

Toronto comes into tonight winless in four straight games.

“They play hard, and their last two games were one-goal games. That’s what you’re going to get. You’re going to get a highly competitive game and an organized team,” Peters said. “They haven’t given up much. It’s about us, though. We’ve got to get our game where we want it to be.”

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes have not lost a season series to the Maple Leafs since the 2006-07 season. Tonight is the third and final game in this season’s series, and each team is 1-0-1 (3 points). … The Hurricanes are 13-6-2 at Air Canada Centre since the start of the 2003-04 season. … Jordan Staal has points (4g, 4a) in six straight games and Joakim Nordstrom is riding a four-game point streak (3g, 1a).



Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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