RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Toronto Maple Leafs lineup will be in a holding pattern until game time Thursday night.
Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (elbow) and forward David Clarkson (lower body) left the Jan. 4 game against the New York Rangers, but Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was hoping to have at least one of the two back in the lineup to face the Carolina Hurricanes.
"Obviously there has been some improvement, but we will have to wait until after the warm-up whether they give us the heads up on whether they can go," Carlyle said. "They would both like to take the time between now and then and test it again in warm-up."
Clarkson skated only a few minutes of the morning skate before heading to the dressing room. The fact that both players are questionable for the game caught the Toronto coach off guard.
"When we left Toronto, we felt that one player would be available off the skate yesterday," he said. "For that to change today, that's a little bit of a surprise, to say the least."
Carlyle said Carter Ashton, recalled from the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday, will center the fourth line. He has played in 18 games for the Leafs, recording one assist.
The Hurricanes will be without captain Eric Staal for the second straight game after sustaining a lower-body injury. Defenseman Ron Hainsey did not participate in the morning skate and will be a game-time decision due to illness.
Here are the projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes:
James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul - Nazem Kadri - Mason Raymond
Jerry D'Amigo - Jay McClement - Nikolai Kulemin
Frazer McLaren - Carter Ashton - Colton Orr
Tim Gleason - Dion Phaneuf
Cody Franson - Jake Gardiner
Morgan Rielly - Paul Ranger
Game-time decision/injured: David Clarkson (lower body), Carl Gunnarsson (elbow).
Tuomo Ruutu - Jeff Skinner - Alexander Semin
Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer
Drayson Bowman - Manny Malhotra - Radek Dvorak
Zach Boychuk - Brett Sutter - Elias Lindholm
Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
Ron Hainsey/Jay Harrison - Brett Bellemore
John-Michael Liles - Ryan Murphy
Scratched: Mike Komisarek
Injured: Eric Staal (lower body), Cam Ward (lower body), Jiri Tlusty (appendectomy), Riley Nash (lower body)