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Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (45-16-6) at Toronto Maple Leafs (31-30-6).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

Playing on the road may be catching up to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes, in the midst of playing nine of 10 games away from home, have lost four of their last six games as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

The rough stretch has dropped Carolina two points behind the Ottawa Senators for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

After starting their current four-game road trip with a 5-1 victory at Montreal Thursday, the Hurricanes lost 4-2 in Boston on Saturday.

Carolina couldn't convert on a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second period and finished 0-for-9 on the power play.

"We had probably 25 quality chances to score and only put it in two times," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "That really hasn't been an issue this season, but today it was probably the difference."

Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour scored for Carolina. Staal has two goals and five assists during a five-game point streak. He leads the Hurricanes with five goals and 14 points in 10 games since the Olympic break.

Justin Williams, who assisted on Brind'Amour's goal, has two goals and four assists in Carolina's last three games.

Carolina's road trip concludes in Buffalo Wednesday. The Hurricanes then play eight of their final 13 games at home, where they are a league-best 27-5-1.

Carolina has earned at least one point in each of its last six meetings with Toronto, with four wins and two overtime losses over that span.

The Maple Leafs are just 4-5-1 since the Olympic break, and trail the Montreal Canadiens by five points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Toronto plays at Montreal for two consecutive games on Thursday and Saturday.

Toronto won 1-0 at Pittsburgh Sunday, salvaging one victory on a three-game road trip. Forward Chad Kilger scored the lone goal on a penalty shot with 6:51 remaining, beating Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury near the left post.

"We saw enough glove saves from him early in the game," Kilger said. "I knew I was going blocker."

Jason Allison and Mats Sundin have been bright spots of late for the Leafs, with six goals each in 10 games since the Olympics.

STANDINGS: Hurricanes - 96 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Maple Leafs - 68 points, 4th place, 30 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Staal, 41 goals, 48 assists and 89 points; Mike Commodore, 99 PIM. Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 24 goals; Tomas Kaberle, 49 assists; Bryan McCabe, 60 points and 104 PIM. Bryan McCabe, 104 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Hurricanes - Power play: 18.3 percent (82 for 447), 11th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.7 percent (301 for 364), 15th. Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.0 percent (85 for 424), 4th. Penalty killing: 80.2 percent (331 for 413), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Martin Gerber (32-10-4, 3 SO, 2.68 GAA); Cam Ward (13-6-2, 0, 3.52). Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (22-22-4, 0, 3.29); Mikael Tellqvist (9-8-2, 2, 2.80).

SEASON SERIES: Hurricanes, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 25; Hurricanes, 4-3 (SO). At Raleigh, N.C., Toronto's Kilger scored with 2:18 remaining to force overtime, but shootout goals by Radim Vrbata and Matt Cullen gave the Hurricanes the victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hurricanes - 18-11-5 on the road; Maple Leafs - 20-12-2 at home.

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