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At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin will make his NHL debut Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET; SNO, FS-CR).

Slavin, 21, was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. A first-year pro, he has seven assists in 14 AHL games.

"I'm just overwhelmed a bit," Slavin said. "It's amazing; a dream come true. I'm excited to get out there and show what I've got and help the team get a win tonight. It's definitely in the back of your mind that it's your first NHL game. But it only happens once so you have to go out and enjoy it.

Slavin's opportunity comes while defenseman Ryan Murphy is recovering from a concussion.

"He skates well and he was good in the exhibition season for us," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said of Slavin. "The way we've played recently, we've come off it a little bit in my opinion. So we want to put him in and see what he can do at this level."

It will be the first time Peters and Toronto (6-9-4) coach Mike Babcock are on opposing benches. Prior to taking the Carolina (6-10-2) job, Peters spent three seasons as an assistant coach on Babcock's staff with the Detroit Red Wings.

They share similar outlooks on what it will take for their team to win Friday.

"Work ethic and execution," Babcock said. "The game is going to be tight. Lots of times in the schedule the other team's [position in the] standings scares you, so you get prepared. When you're playing Carolina or Toronto, you have to prepare yourself because the standings don't reflect them in that kind of light."

Peters believes the game shapes up in the same fashion.

"Battle level and execution," he said. "It's going to be tight. It will come down to 1-on-1 battles and being able to be dynamic in the offensive zone. And when you get a Grade-A, you better finalize it."

The Maple Leafs have points in six of their past seven games (4-1-2), an indication that there is progress being made. That confidence was evident when the Leafs scored four power-play goals in a 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

"Our group as a whole, you can see that we've bought in," Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. "It's showing in the way we play our game. We play a disciplined game. When we play our structure it gives us a chance. Mike is very detail-oriented and you can see it every day."

Carolina is 1-4-2 in November largely because of a sputtering offense; they have five goals in the past four games and 16 goals in seven games this month.

Here are the projected lineups:


James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Shawn Matthias - Tyler Bozak - PA Parenteau

Daniel Winnik - Byron Froese - Joffrey Lupul

Michael Grabner - Peter Holland - Brad Boyes

Jake Gardiner - Dion Phaneuf

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Martin Marincin - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Injured: Stephane Robidas (groin), Nick Spaling (upper body)

Scratched: Frank Corrado, Scott Harrington


Chris Terry - Eric Staal - Kris Versteeg

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Riley Nash

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Nathan Gerbe - Jay McClement - Brad Malone

Jaccob Slavin - Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - John-Michael Liles

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee), Ryan Murphy (concussion)

Scratched: Andrej Nestrasil, Michal Jordan

Status report: Babcock indicated that Spaling is not ready to return to the lineup. He sat out Tuesday against the Avalanche. ... Free-agent defenseman Tim Gleason, 32, who has played parts of the past nine seasons with the Hurricanes, is skating with them on a professional tryout.

Who's hot: Parenteau has three goals in the past three games. ... Bozak has two goals and five assists during a five-game point streak. … Reimer has won four straight games. ... Faulk has two goals and three assists in the past five games.

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