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Leafs try to keep cooking at home

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by John McCauley

The Carolina Hurricanes blow into Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night to try and spoil the Toronto Maple Leafs eight-game home unbeaten streak and end their own four-game road winless stretch.

The Leafs are 7-0-1-0 in their last eight home dates extending back to a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on October 13. Since that time they have outscored their opponents 25-7 with solid overall play. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have just one win in their last seven games (1-3-3-0).
Darcy Tucker's status for tonight's game is yet to be determined.

Carolina hasn't been able to get things together on the road of late, riding a 0-2-2-0 stretch despite showing signs of returning to offensive form. The team directed 41 shots at Nikolai Khabibulin but couldn't get slip one past the Tampa Bay Lightning's netminder in a 4-0 loss Sunday afternoon.

Prior to that the Hurricanes scored nine goals in two games (1-0-1-0) and will have to put pressure on the Leafs' Curtis Joseph, who is coming off a 2-0 shutout victory over the Boston Bruins.

Veteran goalie Tom Barrasso gets the call for Carolina. The 36-year-old was on the hook for the loss in Toronto's 3-2 come-from-behind victory in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the teams' first meeting of the year.

Gritty forward Darcy Tucker, who has been out of the lineup since Novemeber 19 after getting butt-ended in the face by the Florida Panthers' Jason Wiemer, may play but his status will be determined just prior to the puck drop.

Tucker completed his first full practice Tuesday morning but Leafs officials are going to be cautious with the his injury, diagnosed as a grade-three concussion.

Winger Gary Valk will also be a game-time decision after he suffered a hip injury and didn't take part in practice Monday afternoon.

Toronto is hoping to build on its victory over the Bruins and carry a strong effort into Chicago on Friday night to start a tough home-and-home series against the Blackhawks.

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