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This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game 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 puck drop draws near.
A projected lineup and preview of tonight’s season series finale can be found below. The Hurricanes will hold a 10:30 a.m. morning skate at PNC Arena, so check back here then for more!Last updated: 4:30 p.m.
BEFORE THE FACEOFF4:30 p.m.
Setting the table for tonight's season series finale between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes!
QUOTE 'EM12:15 p.m.
The Canes will ice the lines listed below tonight versus Toronto. Additionally, Cam Ward will make career start No. 499. He is 15-9-2 with a 2.73 goals-against average and two shutouts in 26 career appearances against the Leafs.
Head coach Bill Peters met with a bigger media contingent than usual (hello, Toronto!) after the morning skate. Here's what he had to say.On tonight's game:
"We need to be better. We need to start on time. We need better production and better play away from the puck."On forward line changes:
"Just one of those things with 14 healthy bodies up front and everyone playing well, there are two guys coming out that don’t necessarily deserve it, in essence, but that’s the way it is."On a successful power play:
"We just have to make sure we do the right things fundamentally on the power play. You have to be able to shoot the puck and retrieve it with a net-front presence. When we do that, we’ll have success, if we get away from that, then no success."On putting trade rumors aside and focusing on the game:
"You’ve got to be able to park it and do your job. You get paid to do a job, and you’re expected to come in and be a pro. That’s what separates the guys who haven’t figured it out from the true pros. We’ll see from the effort tonight. I expect us to be real good."
CANES PROJECTED LINEUP6:00 a.m.
Based on lines utilized in practice on Thursday, here’s what we expect the Hurricanes to look like tonight.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Tlusty
Chris Terry and Patrick Dwyer are expected to be the healthy extras up front. A starting goaltender has yet to be named.
CANES LOOK TO SWEEP SEASON SERIES VS. LEAFS6:00 a.m.
When the Carolina Hurricanes host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, the Canes will be aiming for a season series sweep.
The Canes have won each of the first two meetings between the two teams this season, both by a score of 4-1. The most recent match-up was a month ago in Toronto, a game in which Eric Staal tallied two points, including an emphatic empty-netter to cap the victory.
The teams’ first meeting this season was on Dec. 18, and the Hurricanes’ 4-1 win snapped a six-game losing streak. It also helped kick-start the Leafs’ slide in the standings; Toronto has posted just one win in their last 16 games.
“Our team game has slipped a little bit. We’re 4-4-2 in our last 10, and we think we’re better than a .500 team, so we’ve got to go out and prove that,” head coach Bill Peters said after practice on Thursday. “[Toronto’s] specialty teams are good; they’re dangerous on the power play, and they have a top-10 PK. They’ve lost some games when they’ve played real well. … We’ll have a dangerous opponent and one we respect.”
In addition to posting a hockey .500 record in their last 10 games, the Hurricanes are also hockey .500 at home at 11-11-3. They are coming off a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, the second half of a back-to-back set that began with a 6-3 win in Ottawa. Tonight’s tilt against Toronto is also the first game in a back-to-back set that concludes Saturday night in New Jersey.
Drawing back into the Hurricanes lineup tonight against the Maple Leafs will be forwards Victor Rask and Alexander Semin. Rask will likely center Nathan Gerbe and Elias Lindholm, and Semin will form a wing pairing with Jeff Skinner with Riley Nash in the middle.
“We’ll have a good line there,” Peters said. “I’m really excited about the Skinner-Nash-Semin line. I think that should be a real good unit.”
Defenseman Michal Jordan was reassigned to Charlotte on Thursday morning, so barring a morning recall, Brett Bellemore will dress in his stead.
NOTES: The Canes have won seven of the last eight games against the Maple Leafs at PNC Arena, scoring 31 goals in those seven wins. ... Already winners of two out of three games in the season series, the Hurricanes have not lost a season series to Toronto since the 2006-07 season.