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Leafs Entertain Hurricanes

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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HURRICANES (15-15-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (13-17-4)


Last 10 --
Carolina 5-4-1; Toronto 5-5-0

Season series -- This is the first of four meetings between these two clubs. The Hurricanes took three of four last season, with two wins coming at Air Canada Centre. Carolina is 9-3-0 against the Maple Leafs over the past three seasons, including a current four-game winning streak at Toronto.

Big story -- The Canes are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, but a visit up north should offer them a chance to right the ship. Carolina outscored the Leafs 16-7 over their last four wins at ACC.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes --
The three straight losses are the longest all season for Carolina and the reason for the slide is because of its lack of power-play success. The Hurricanes went 0-for-4 with the man advantage in a 3-2 loss to Washington on Sunday. Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen tallied goals, but it wasn't enough to stop the Capitals.

"(The power play) is your primary opportunity," coach Paul Maurice told the club's official website on Monday. "We need to put pucks in the net there."
Maple Leafs -- Toronto defeated the League-worst Devils 4-1 on Sunday, which put an end to its own three-game losing streak. However, it's been a season marked by inconsistency for the Leafs as they haven't managed a true winning streak since they opened the season with four straight victories. While Sunday's win was a start, Toronto will need quite the effort if they hope to climb out of 13th place in the Eastern Conference with only 30 points.

"We started off great. Pounding pucks and taking the body," said Colby Armstrong, who notched a pair of goals vs. the Devils. "We got some good chances. We just stayed on top of them the whole game."

Who's hot -- Canes captain Eric Staal has tallied points in four of his last six games, with 4 goals and 2 assists over that span. ... Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get his fifth straight start in place of the injured Jean-Sebastian Gigure. The Swedish goalie made 29 saves vs. New Jersey for his first win since Dec. 6.

Injury report -- Forward Jiri Tlusty (arm) is the only injured Hurricanes player. ... Giguere is expected to miss another week for the Leafs with a groin injury.

Stat pack -- Carolina scored three power-play goals against the Bruins back on Nov. 26, but is 4-for-41 with the man advantage since then.

Puck drop -- With only one year of NHL experience, Gustavsson is still adjusting to being depended upon as the starting goalie. He had struggled recently with three straight losses but his spirits were quickly picked back up with an overall solid performance on Sunday.

"You always want to play good. You always want to win," said Gustavsson after defeating the Devils. "It's the best feeling in the world after a win, so it's good."

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