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Preview: Hurricanes at Maple Leafs

Goaltender Cam Ward, Carolina looking to win fifth straight; Maple Leafs aiming for more success at home

by David Alter / Correspondent

HURRICANES (7-6-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (8-7-3)

7 p.m. ET; TSN4, FS-SE, NHL.TV


Hurricanes team scope

Goaltender Cam Ward will start and go for his fifth consecutive win for the Carolina Hurricanes. Ward, who has started seven straight games, has given up four goals in his past four victories, including a 1-0 shutout of the San Jose Sharks last Tuesday. "He's been unbelievable and the biggest reason for our recent success," forward Jeff Skinner told the Raleigh News & Observer. "You look at the saves he's made, the timely saves, and being consistently solid throughout the game, and game to game. He's a calming influence, which give the players in front of him a lot more confidence." Ward is 5-1-2 with a 1.59 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in November. "I'm just enjoying playing, to be honest," Ward told the News & Observer. "In the past, maybe I did play with a chip and I almost played too intense, and tried too hard because of that chip."


Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs are 6-3-0 in their past nine games, and 7-2-0 at Air Canada Centre this season. "It's nice being at home because you can get that matchup you want," said center Auston Matthews, who has three assists in his past 12 games after opening his NHL career with 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his first six games. "We need to be the same team home and away. We need to play well in both areas." Forward William Nylander has two goals and an assist in his past nine games after having 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his first nine games. Goaltender Frederik Andersen will start. He has allowed two goals or fewer in his past three starts, two of them Toronto victories.


Hurricanes projected lineup

Teuvo Teravainen - Jordan Staal - Sebastian Aho

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Brock McGinn - Derek Ryan - Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom - Jay McClement - Viktor Stalberg

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward

Michael Leighton

Scratched: Klas Dahlbeck, Ryan Murphy, Andrej Nestrasil

Injured: Bryan Bickell (multiple sclerosis), Eddie Lack (concussion)


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

Matt Martin - Ben Smith - Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Peter Holland, Martin Marincin, Frank Corrado

Injured: Josh Leivo (lower-body)


Status report

The Hurricanes called up Leighton on Monday, after Lack was diagnosed with a concussion following practice. Leighton will back up Ward. … Leivo has returned from a conditioning stint with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League. Leivo has not played a game with the Maple Leafs this season.


Who's hot

Teravainen has seven points (three goals and four assists) in his past five games. … Rask has four goals in his past five games after scoring no goals in his previous six games. … Van Riemsdyk has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. … Marner has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his past eight games.

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