Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview
GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (18-27-12-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (34-16-9-3).
TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
With an unsteady situation in net, the Toronto Maple Leafs hope their
offense continues to roll as they take on the league's lowest-scoring team, the
Though Gary Roberts is sidelined with a groin injury, the Maple Leafs have
kept up an impressive scoring pace. They've averaged four goals a game in their
last 11 outings, going 7-3-1 during that stretch.
Toronto is fourth in the league with 181 goals scored this season.
Roberts, tied for the team lead with 22 goals, is on injured reserve along
with top goaltender Ed Belfour. The 15-year veteran has played in only one game
since January due to back problems, though Belfour may return this week.
Who Belfour's backup will be when he comes back is in question.
That job belonged to Trevor Kidd, but he is just 1-3-1 while allowing 22
goals in his last five starts. Mikael Tellqvist, meanwhile, has yet to lose
this season, going 5-0-2.
Tellqvist made 27 saves Saturday as Toronto beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4.
The 24-year-old rookie has won all three of his starts since being recalled
from the minors on Feb. 14.
"It's hard to say whether I've earned it or not," Tellqvist said of the
backup job. "Of course, I want to be here. It's everybody's dream to play at
Another rookie has keyed Toronto's offense lately, with Matthew Strajan
contributing four goals and three assists in the last five games.
Other Leafs helping carry the offense are Mats Sundin, with five goals and
seven assists in his last 10 games, and Owen Nolan, with 10 points in the last
The Hurricanes are last in the NHL with 116 goals scored.
Their offense has shown signs of life lately by scoring at least three goals
in five of the last nine games, but the team has won only once during that span
Carolina is 0-for-11 on the power play in the last two games and has scored
on just 11.2 percent of its opportunities with the man advantage this season -
worst in the league.
Coach Peter Laviolette talked about his team's struggles on offense
following Saturday's 3-3 tie with the Boston Bruins.
"We're pressing, we're looking, we're down there and we're trying to
create, and we come up short," Laviolette said. "A goal on the power play
tonight could've been the difference."
STANDINGS (through Feb. 21): Hurricanes - 51 points, 4th place, 23 PB,
Southeast Division. Maple Leafs - 80 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Josef Vasicek, 16 goals and 32 points; Justin
Williams, 22 assists; Jesse Boulerice, 95 PIM. Maple Leafs - Sundin and
Roberts, 22 goals; Sundin, 37 assists and 59 points; Tie Domi, 161 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 21): Hurricanes - Power play: 11.2 percent (31
for 277), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.1 percent (210 for 259), 26th. Maple
Leafs - Power play: 19.7 percent (57 for 290), 5th. Penalty killing: 85.1
percent (257 for 302), 8th.
GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Kevin Weekes (18-22-10, 6 SO, 2.27 GAA); Arturs
Irbe (no appearances). Maple Leafs - Kidd (5-4-2, 1, 3.15); Tellqvist (5-0-2,
SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Thursday; Maple Leafs, 2-1, OT. At Raleigh, N.C., Tellqvist
made 34 saves and Darcy Tucker scored 2:18 into overtime.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hurricanes - 7-15-4-1 on the road; Maple Leafs - 16-9-2-2