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Hurricanes at Maple Leafs preview

Carolina holds second wild card in East; Toronto trying to move up in Atlantic Division

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

HURRICANES (43-29-7) at MAPLE LEAFS (46-26-7)

7:30p.m. ET; TVAS, TSN4, FS-CR, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Carolina Hurricanes will look to gain ground in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference wild-card race when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes, who are 1-3-0 in their past four games after going 6-2-0 in their previous eight, trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by four points for third place in the Metropolitan Division and the Columbus Blue Jackets by one point for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the East. Carolina is one point ahead of the Montreal Canadiens for the second wild card. Each team has two games remaining after Tuesday. Carolina hasn't qualified for the playoffs since 2008-09.

Goalie Petr Mrazek, who is 9-2-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 11 games, will start for the Hurricanes.

Garret Sparks will start in goal for the Maple Leafs, who clinched a playoff berth with a 2-1 win at the New York Islanders on Monday. Toronto trails the Boston Bruins by four points for second in the Atlantic Division. Each team has two games remaining after Tuesday; they will play in the Eastern Conference First Round when the playoffs begin next week.

 

Players to watch

Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho has five points, all assists, in his past 11 games after he had 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in his previous 13.

Maple Leafs center John Tavares has eight points (six goals, two assists) in his past six games. His 46 goals and 87 points this season are NHL career highs.

 

They said it

"You have to have that inner belief that the guys in the dressing room can get it done and get to the next level. We're playing meaningful games late in the season, which is obviously something we've wanted." -- Hurricanes captain Justin Williams

"We'll have a big challenge. This team is coming in here looking to do the same thing we did last night, which is to put themselves in real close and a much better position. This will be a real good test for us and to get us playing in a mode that we're going to have to play in a week because this team will be bringing everything they've got." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Sebastian Aho -- Justin Williams

Andrei Svechnikov -- Jordan Staal -- Teuvo Teravainen

Micheal Ferland -- Lucas Wallmark -- Jordan Martinook

Brock McGinn -- Greg McKegg -- Warren Foegele

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce -- Justin Faulk

Haydn Fleury -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Petr Mrazek

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Saku Maenalanen

Injured: Calvin de Haan (upper body)

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Kasperi Kapanen -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

Tyler Ennis -- Frederik Gauthier -- Trevor Moore

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Muzzin -- Nikita Zaitsev

Calle Rosen -- Travis Dermott

Frederik Andersen

Garret Sparks

Scratched: Tyler Ennis, Nic Petan, Igor Ozhiganov, Justin Holl, Martin Marincin

Injured: Jake Gardiner (back), Andreas Johnsson (illness)

 

Status report

Fleury was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Monday. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said de Haan will not be available for the rest of the regular season. … Toronto coach Mike Babcock said several players will be game-time decisions because of illness.

 

Stat pack

Williams has three assists in his past four games. … Marner has seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past six games.

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