Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview
GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (16-23-9-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (27-12-8-3).
TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking for reinforcements. Owen Nolan appears
ready for duty.
Nolan may make his return after missing three weeks with an eye injury when
the Northeast Division-leading Maple Leafs take on the visiting Carolina
Hurricanes, looking for their fourth straight win.
Toronto, which will be trying for its longest winning streak since it won
eight straight from Nov. 26-Dec. 6, has played much of this season without many
regulars, including Nolan, Alexander Mogilny and Darcy Tucker.
Nolan has missed nine straight games since being high-sticked in the left
eye on Jan. 3 against Buffalo.
``We're starting to get people back and that's the really important thing
for us,'' center Joe Nieuwendyk told the Toronto Sun. ``To see Alex out there
today and Robert Reichel and Kenny Klee come back (Saturday night in Montreal)
is a great feeling. And we're starting to play better, too. These things go in
cycles sometimes and after some down time, it looks like we're coming out of it
Mogilny, recovering from November hip surgery, is said to be getting better
every day, and will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break. Tucker, also
sidelined by an eye injury from an errant stick, hopes to play this week, while
defenseman Wade Belak remains long-term with a torn MCL.
The Maple Leafs are coming in off a 4-1 win in Montreal on Saturday. Toronto
goalie Ed Belfour made 14 saves to tie Tony Esposito for fourth place on the
career victory list with 423.
The Hurricanes have lost four of their last five and are coming off a 4-2
defeat to Buffalo on Sunday in which they allowed four unanswered goals.
Erik Cole and Kevyn Adams scored for the Hurricanes, who had a 39-21
advantage in shots.
Coach Peter Laviolette was upset with his team's effort.
``We're not here to try hard. We've got to win games,'' Laviolette said.
``So I'm failing miserably, the players are failing miserably. And our fans are
coming out and waiting for something to cheer about, and we're failing
miserably at that, as well.''
It was the fourth straight home loss for Carolina, which hasn't been much
better on the road this season, winning just six times.