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Match Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Hurricanes

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


TEAM UPDATES

The Leafs will turn to James Reimer in goal tonight as they look to earn their first win in Carolina since 2011. In two previous matchups against the Hurricanes this season — one in Raleigh and the other in Toronto — the Leafs have been beaten by 4-1 scores.

"We're going to change that. I don't feel anything negative about the building or anything else," said Leafs coach Peter Horachek. "It's a place for us to look at ourselves, not look at what has happened the past. Let's look at today and do something about it."

Andrew MacWilliam earned his first career NHL recall on Thursday on an emergency basis and may get a look in the lineup against Carolina if one of the Leafs' other six defenders is unable to play.

"It's exciting," said MacWilliam. "I was kind of nervous at first and wasn't sure what they were talking about, but when they said I was getting called up, it was good to hear."

The Hurricanes come into tonight's game having lost their last game on Tuesday night to the Islanders by a 4-1 score. Victor Rask and Alexander Semin will return to their lineup tonight after sitting out the last two games as healthy scratches.

Cam Ward is slated to start in goal. He own a 15-9-2 record in his career against the Leafs with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.

Despite their recent good run of form against the Leafs, the Hurricanes aren't taking the Friday night tilt for granted.

“[Toronto’s] specialty teams are good; they’re dangerous on the power play, and they have a top-10 PK," said Bill Peters. "They’ve lost some games when they’ve played real well. … We’ll have a dangerous opponent and one we respect.”

RECENT RESULTS

The Leafs had one of their stronger defensive performances of the season on Tuesday, but turnovers and uncharacteristic penalty killing errors sank them in a 3-2 loss to the Panthers.

Toronto is 1-7-2 in their last 10 and 7-17-5 on the road this season.

The Hurricanes have cooled off of late after a 9-3-3 start to 2015. They have lost three of their last four games and sit at 4-4-2 in their last 10.

In 25 home games this season, Carolina is 11-11-3.

LAST MEETING

The Hurricanes have gotten the better of the Leafs in two meetings this season, winning both by 4-1 scores.

The Leafs and Hurricanes last played in January with Carolina taking the win in Toronto. Nazem Kadri scored the lone Leafs goal on the power play while Anton Khudobin stole the show with a 34 save performance to earn the Hurricanes two points.

Tonight's meeting will be the third and final game between the teams this year.

ONE TO WATCH

Justin Faulk

Faulk has quietly become one of the NHL's top blueliners. He uses strong skating ability to get himself out of trouble and makes good decisions with the puck on his stick. He sits in a tie for 14th in scoring among defencemen in the NHL with 10 goals and 35 points.

He and Andrej Sekera have solified the Hurricanes' top pairing and consistently get the better of the opposition when they are on the ice. Look for Faulk to test the Leafs' forecheckers with his puck moving ability and show off his power play quarterbacking.

In 11 career games against the Leafs he has recorded three goals and nine points.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes based on yesterday's practices for both teams...

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

26 Winnik - 43 Kadri - 18 Panik

21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel

47 Komarov - 11 Jokinen - 71 Clarkson

20 Booth - 24 Holland - 67 Kozun

Defence

44 Rielly - 46 Polak

51 Gardiner - 55 Holzer

12 Robidas - 8 Granberg

Goaltenders

34 Reimer

45 Bernier

Carolina Hurricanes

Forwards

12 E. Staal - 11 J. Staal - 19 Tlusty

14 Gerbe - 49 Rask - 16 Lindholm

53 Skinner - 20 Nash - 28 Semin

24 Malone - 18 McClement - 15 Nestrasil

Defence

4 Sekera - 27 Faulk

6 Gleason - 26 Liles

65 Hainsey - 73 Bellemore

Goaltenders

30 Ward

31 Khudobin

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