Just seven shopping days left until Christmas, but put that off a little longer and spend some time at the rink!
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s match-up between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, videos, photos and more as the day rolls on.
A preview of tonight’s game can be found below. In a bit of a twist on the usual, the Canes will hold a morning skate at 10:30 a.m. – at Raleigh Center Ice. Check back here then for roster notes, quotes and more!Last updated: 4:50 p.m.
HARRISON DEALT TO WINNIPEG4:50 p.m.
A day before the NHL's annual holiday roster freeze, the Carolina Hurricanes traded Jay Harrison to the injury-riddled Winnipeg Jets
in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick, previously held by Ottawa.
Harrison, 32, played in 20 games for the Canes this season, totaling four points (1g, 3a). In six seasons in Carolina, Harrison logged 68 points (21g, 47a) in 317 games.
The Hurricanes are now carrying seven defensemen on their roster. If John-Michael Liles misses his second straight game with an upper-body injury, look for these defensive pairings tonight against Toronto:
BEFORE THE FACEOFF3:45 p.m.
Amber Jaye sets the table for tonight's match-up between the Hurricanes and Maple Leafs.
BACK IN BLACK AND A VISIT FROM YOU-KNOW-WHO1:15 p.m.
The Hurricanes will be outfitted in their black third sweaters tonight for the fifth time this season. They are currently 2-2-0 in their alternate uniform set this season.
Also, make sure you're on your best behavior tonight because you-know-who is comin' to town.
LINEUP NOTES AND PETERS QUOTES11:15 a.m.
The Carolina Hurricanes held their morning skate at Raleigh Center Ice today. Though Eric Staal did not skate, he will be in the lineup tonight.
"He's a little bit sore, so we thought we'd give him a maintenance day this morning," Peters said.
Cam Ward will get the start in net. In 25 career appearances against Toronto, he is 14-9-2 with a 2.80 goals-against average.
More from Peters:On the message to the team:
"Yesterday we talked about staying with it. Montreal was frustrating to a certain degree. It was 2-1 with five minutes to play, and I thought we had built a pretty good game going into that third period. ... When it's a one-goal game we have to stay with it and be on the right side of that one-goal game."On Toronto:
"They're explosive, and they don't need many touches in the O-zone to score. ... They've got contributions throughout the lineup, and they're a good club."
OPPOSITES COLLIDE IN RALEIGH6:00 a.m.
It’s a tale of two teams streaking in opposite directions. The Carolina Hurricanes have dropped a season-high six games in a row. The Toronto Maple Leafs have won a season-high six games in a row.
On Thursday night at PNC Arena, the two teams collide.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves. It’s about us,” head coach Bill Peters said after a limited team skate on Wednesday. “We stay with it. We live in the moment and go day-by-day.”
The Maple Leafs come to town having won seven of their last eight games and 10 (points in 11) of their last 12. In that stretch of 12 games, Toronto has scored at least four goals in nine of their 10 wins. They sit in fourth place at 19-9-3 (41 points) in the Atlantic Division.
“Toronto is a dangerous team playing very well. You look at their success here recently, and they’ve scored a lot of goals,” Peters said. “They’re a team that can finish. They don’t need many opportunities, so we have to make sure we’re not feeding their offense.”
The Hurricanes have lost six consecutive contests, and the team has scored just one goal in each of those games. The last time Carolina netted more than a goal was in a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Dec. 2.
“Eventually it’s going to turn,” Peters said. “Offensively we have to continue to stay with it. We’ve got to break through in that regard, and once we do it will take pressure off our team defensively.”
The Canes hope that recent history is on their side as they look to discard their offensive stupor: they’ve scored four or more goals in 11 of the last 22 games against Toronto and gone 10-1-0 in those games.
On the roster front, Jiri Tlusty (upper body), Andrej Nestrasil (upper body) and Alexander Semin (lower body) will each miss tonight’s game. After missing Tuesday’s game in Montreal with an upper-body concern, John-Michael Liles remains questionable.
As such, Justin Shugg will likely see his first game at home in a Canes uniform after making his NHL debut in Montreal a couple nights ago.
“Good for Justin. He didn’t play a lot, but I thought he was fine when he did,” Peters said. “It was obviously an exciting day for him and a proud moment. Good for him to make it to the highest level.”
NOTES: Jeff Skinner posted his 200th NHL point in Montreal as he was retroactively credited with the Canes’ lone goal. He has points in two straight games. … The Canes have claimed victory in six of the last seven meetings between the two teams at PNC Arena.