The Maple Leafs hit the road as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina. Here are the Leafs’ three keys to grabbing two points.
During the Leafs current six-game winning streak they have beaten teams near the top of the standings. Many Leafs have said more recent matchups against Los Angeles and Anaheim were games they really got up for. There is an inherent danger or temptation to take the foot off the throttle. At 8-19-3, the Carolina Hurricanes have the fewest amount of points in the NHL with 19. The Leafs have had a tendency ease up a bit against perceived weaker teams and they have been burned for that (a 6-2 loss to Buffalo on November 15th). The attitude in the locker room is good, they have to show that they can put in the good performances against the weaker teams.
Get to the net
With the Carolina Hurricanes on a six-game losing streak, their biggest issue has been an inability to score. Their strength is in goal where Cam Ward has been dependable. The Leafs' offence will be licking their chops to get into the blue ice and create all kinds of problems for the veteran netminder.
5-on-5 and shots
The Carolina Hurricanes are the fourth worst team in the NHL with respect to goals for and against in 5-on-5 situations. Meanwhile, they don’t give up a lot of shots on goal, averaging 27.8 against — the fifth best average in the League. If the Leafs stick to the way they have been playing during their current win streak, this will be an easy two points.
Leafs against > .500 opponents this season: 14-3-2
Leafs against .500 opponents this season, 0-2-0
Leafs against < .500 opponents this season 5-4-1
Now isn’t the time to get complacent.