TORONTO - Prior to the three-day holiday break, the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs square off in a Monday matinee.
After taking nine of a possible 10 points (4-0-1) on a five-game road trip, the Hurricanes briefly returned home and were topped, 4-2, by the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Still, the team boasts a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games.
"The tough part was we didn't get the result that I think we deserved in that one," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "The guys played hard. I wasn't sure what we were going to get based on the mental fatigue. Not the physical fatigue, but the mental grind they've been on. But, as a group, I thought we played well."
Monday's matinee marks the Hurricanes' 37th game of the regular season, after which the team and NHL will pause for a three-day holiday break.
"We've got to grind one more game," Teuvo Teravainen said on Saturday. "Then, we get a little bit of rest."
Bolstered by their 4-0-1 road trip, the Canes are 12-6-2 on the road this season. But, Monday's game has some caution flags for the head coach.
"It will be interesting, to me," he said. "We'll get right back on the plane and go back out. That's the game that worries me."
Reim & Reason
James Reimer is set to make his return to Toronto, where he made 207 appearances for the Maple Leafs from 2010-16. Reimer, who was drafted by Toronto in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, is expected to get the start in net for the Hurricanes.
In Reimer's last seven starts, all of which have come on the road, he's posted a 6-1-0 record with a 1.57 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and two shutouts.
The Maple Leafs are riding a four-game winning streak and have been victorious in six of their last seven games dating back to Dec. 7. With a 7-3-0 record in their last 10 games, Toronto has surged into second place in the Atlantic Division. Austen Matthews ranks third in the NHL in goals (23) and leads his team with 41 points through 37 games.
"One of the best offensive machines out there," Brind'Amour said. "You've got some high-end talent, maybe some of the highest in the league, up front, for sure. I think they've kind of turned them loose a little bit, but there's a definite commitment to defense, too."
WORTH A CLICK
WATCH, LISTEN & STREAM
Watch: FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports GO
Listen: 99.9 The Fan, Hurricanes app