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Gameday: Maple Leafs vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Well, it’s Friday Night/ I’m gonna have some fun tonight


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.

The Hurricanes will be on the ice at PNC Arena for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate, which will stream live on CarolinaHurricanes.com; in this season’s second episode of Storm Surge, Michelle McMahon will be joined by special guest Shane Willis to bring you live coverage of the Canes’ gameday practice. Until then, check out a projected lineup and preview below.

Last updated: 4:30 p.m.



BEFORE THE FACEOFF
4:30 p.m.

Michelle McMahon sets the table for tonight's match-up between the Leafs and Canes with stats and sound from both sides.




SLAVIN TO MAKE NHL DEBUT
2:15 p.m.

Jaccob Slavin is set to become the fourth Hurricanes player and third defenseman to make his NHL debut with the team this season.

And, he’s going to do so in a big way, paired with Justin Faulk.

“He’s a big guy who skates well. He played well in Traverse City and was good in the exhibition season here for us,” Peters said of his 21-year-old rookie. “With the way we’ve played recently, we’ve come off it a little bit, and we want to put him in to see what he can do at this level.”

We had a chance to speak with Slavin, who will have his wife and parents in town to witness his debut, after the morning skate.

On making his debut: “I’m just overwhelmed a little bit. It’s amazing. It’s a dream come true. I’m really excited to get out there, show what I’ve got and try to help the team get a win tonight.”

On if there are any nerves: “I tend to get pretty calm before the game. That’s sort of how I’ve always been. … There’s no need to be nervous. I’ve just got to play my game and see what I can do.”

On advice he’s received: “It only happens once. You’ve just got to go out there and enjoy it. … That’s their word to me – to enjoy it and don’t be afraid to play your game.”

On the team dressing six American defensemen: “Yeah, that’s really awesome.”




LINEUP NOTES AND PETERS QUOTES
12:00 p.m.

What you see below will indeed be the Hurricanes' lineup tonight. The team will dress six American defenseman, a #RedWhiteandBlueLine if you will. I asked Jaccob Slavin, who is making his NHL debut, about being one of the six. He said, simply, "Yeah, that's really awesome." Indeed.

Cam Ward is the confirmed starting goaltender for the Hurricanes.

Head coach Bill Peters met with a larger-than-usual media horde after the Canes' morning skate. Here's a sampling of what he had to say.

On tonight's game: “Our team needs a win. We expect to execute here tonight, play hard and be competitive. It should be a real good game.”

On the difference maker in tonight's game: “Battle level and execution. It’s going to be tight. I think the neutral zone will be very tight if both teams play well. It will come down to one-on-one battles and being dynamic in the offensive zone.”

On Jaccob Slavin: “He’s a big guy who skates well. He played well in Traverse City and was good in the exhibition season here for us. With the way we’ve played recently, we’ve come off it a little bit, and we want to put him in to see what he can do at this level.”




CANES PROJECTED LINEUP
6:00 a.m.

Here is the lineup we expect to see for the Hurricanes tonight, based on the lines from the team’s practice on Thursday.

Terry-E. Staal-Versteeg
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nash
Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
Gerbe-McClement-Malone

MAPLE LEAFS vs. HURRICANES
Maple Leafs vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
SLAVIN READIES FOR NHL DEBUT
GLEASON RETURNS TO THE ICE
CANES ANNOUNCE CUP REUNION CELEBRATION
VIDEOS
RINK REPORT: NOV. 19
RAW: BILL PETERS, 11/19
RAW: JACCOB SLAVIN, 11/19
LIVE AT MORNING SKATE: STORM SURGE
GAMEDAY LINKS
BUY TICKETS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Slavin-Faulk
Hainsey-Pesce
Hanifin-Liles

A starting goaltender has yet to be announced.

Michal Jordan is expected to be the healthy extra on defense, and Andrej Nestrasil appears to be out up front. We’ll confirm this at the morning skate.



CANES LOOK TO GET BACK ON TRACK VS. LEAFS
6:00 a.m.

Two games remain in the Carolina Hurricanes’ season-long five-game homestand, which has thus far delivered underwhelming results.

Hoping to establish themselves in the standings, the Hurricanes have posted a 0-1-2 record in the last week and have won just one of their first seven games in the month of November.

After a scheduled day off on Tuesday to refresh, the Hurricanes have put in two good days of work on the ice ahead of their weekend slate of games against Toronto tonight and Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re positive, especially with our group. We’ve got a young group,” head coach Bill Peters said. “You have to be positive. These are the guys you have. Everyone thinks you can go out, make changes and bring in all these players. It’s not DraftKings. That’s not the way it works. You have your 22 or 23 guys, and you find a way to make it work. You’re in it together.”

The Hurricanes added another young body to their group this week, recalling defenseman Jaccob Slavin from Charlotte. The 21-year-old blue liner is expected to make his NHL debut tonight, and will become the fourth player and third defenseman to do so this year for the Hurricanes.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Slavin said after practicing with the team on Thursday. “I’ve been really blessed by God with the abilities He’s given me, and I’m definitely excited to get up here and help the team win.”

“We think we need to shuffle the deck a little bit on the back-end,” Peters said. “I’m comfortable wherever he goes in the lineup. With the way it is now, we’ve got a young guy with an older, veteran guy, and a little bit more of a stable defensive D-man with a puck mover. I like our D pairs.”

The team also rearranged the cards up front, assembling some new trios that include both Eric and Jordan Staal down the middle.

“I think we have real good depth at that position (center),” Peters said. “We need to score. We need to score 5-on-5 and on the power play.”

The Maple Leafs are winners of four of their last five, the most recent of which was a 5-1 victory over Colorado on Tuesday night. The team has a 6-9-4 record and 16 points on the season.

“They’ve had a good month of November,” Peters said of the Mike Babcock-coached Leafs.

Tonight marks the first of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Canes swept the season series last year and haven’t lost a series to Toronto since the 2006-07 season.

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes were not penalized in Monday’s game against Anaheim, the team’s second penalty-free game of the year and second in three games, already equaling Carolina’s penalty-free game total from a year ago. … Justin Faulk has points (1g, 2a) in three straight games. He ranks first on the team in goals (6) and power-play goals (6) and is tied for first on the team in points (12).



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

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