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Leafs In Raleigh For Second Time In 12 Days

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
MAPLE LEAFS (3-11-5) at HURRICANES (3-12-5)

Last 10 -- Leafs 2-4-4; Hurricanes 1-7-2

Season series -- Toronto is visiting the RBC Center for the second time in less than two weeks. The Leafs trailed 2-0 after one period but rallied for a 3-2 victory, handing the Hurricanes their 11th consecutive loss. The teams have two more meetings, both at the Air Canada Centre.

Big story
-- The Leafs and Hurricanes are tied for the fewest points in the League at the quarter pole. The 'Canes ended a 14-game losing streak on Sunday with a 5-4 shootout win over Minnesota, but couldn't build on it -- they blew a one-goal lead late in regulation and lost 3-2 at Montreal in a shootout on Tuesday. After their best performance of the season -- a 5-1 victory over Detroit on Nov. 7 -- the Leafs come to Raleigh having lost four in a row, including Tuesday's 3-2 loss at Ottawa.

Team Scope

Maple Leafs -- Toronto went 3-0-4 from Oct. 26-Nov. 7 after beginning the season 0-7-1, but the Leafs have fallen back with four consecutive regulation losses. They've been outscored 16-8 during that span, scoring twice in each game.

"It's tough. We're definitely working hard and getting chances, but, at the end of the day, we've got to find a way to score one more than the other team," center Matt Stajan said.

Hurricanes -- The 'Canes aren't one of the NHL's big spenders, but a rash of injuries has them making moves because of the salary cap. Tim Conboy, who cleared waivers last week, was sent to AHL Albany to allow Carolina to call up goaltender Justin Peters after backup Michael Leighton went down with a groin injury during Tuesday's game, leaving recently-signed Manny Legace as the team's only healthy goaltender.

On Wednesday, they put starting goaltender Cam Ward (lacerated leg) on the long-term injured list to make room for another call-up from Albany for this game.

"We've figured out the cap issues and how we can work that," GM Jim Rutherford said.

Who's hot -- Carolina's Brandon Sutter has five points in his last three games, including a goal on Tuesday night. He has 5 goals, tied for second on the team, in only 11 games. … Phil Kessel, who made his Leaf debut earlier this month after being acquired from Boston and undergoing shoulder surgery, has scored 5 goals in his last five games. He had Toronto's first goal against Ottawa and has a six-game points streak.

Injury report -- According to Rutherford, defenseman Joni Pitkanen and No. 1 center Eric Staal aren't due back until next week, and forward Scott Walker is out for at least two more weeks. Leighton is week-to-week, and Ward can't return until early December. … Toronto placed defenseman Mike Komisarek on IR; he'll miss about three weeks with a quad injury. Carl Gunnarson was recalled from the AHL Toronto Marlies.

Stat pack -- Toronto has allowed 24 first-period goals, the most in the NHL, and has been down 2-0 in 10 of 19 games. … Both teams have struggled to keep the puck out of their net; the Leafs (71) and 'Canes (75) are the only teams to allow 70 or more goals.

Puck drop -- The winner of this one is no longer at the bottom of the NHL heap. But both teams need to win tonight and follow that with a few more victories to get back into the playoff race.

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