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Preview: Maple Leafs at Hurricanes

Mitchell Marner out for Toronto; Carolina looks to end three-game losing streak

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (26-20-11) at HURRICANES (24-22-8)

7 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, FS-CR, NHL.TV

 

Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without rookie Mitchell Marner for the second straight game because of an upper-body injury sustained in a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Marner is tied with Auston Matthews for the Maple Leafs lead in points with 48. Toronto is 4-7-1 in the second of back-to-back games and will try to end a two-game losing streak following a 6-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Toronto scored three goals to erase Ottawa's 3-0 lead before the Senators scored twice in 54 seconds to retake the lead. "We had ample, ample opportunity to win the game down the stretch," coach Mike Babcock said after the game. "We had lots of push at the net and we didn't score and they did. In the end, when you look at the score, 6-3, you don't think it was a very good hockey game, but I think it was a pretty good hockey game. I think we can play way better though. I think we can play better structurally defensively, so we have to get better." The Maple Leafs, who are one point behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and trail the Florida Panthers by one point for third place in the Atlantic Division, have lost four out of five (1-3-1).

 

Hurricanes team scope

The Carolina Hurricanes held an optional skate Sunday morning and although several veterans were not present, coach Bill Peters expects a healthy lineup. Forward Phillip Di Giuseppe was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League and is expected to play. He had two points (one goal, one assist) in 18 games with the Hurricanes earlier in the season. Carolina has lost three games in a row, including a 2-1 overtime loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday coming off of a five-day break. Peters attributed the loss to the lack of timing and execution. "It's very hard coming out of the break," he said. "You can't skate. It's just the way it is. If we don't skate tonight, we're going to be in trouble."

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Connor Brown

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Josh Leivo

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Curtis McElhinney

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Martin Marincin, Alexey Marchenko

Injured: Mitchell Marner (upper body)

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Teuvo Teravainen -- Lee Stempniak

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Phillip Di Giuseppe -- Victor Rask -- Derek Ryan

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Viktor Stalberg

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Ron Hainsey -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Klas Dahlbeck

Scratched: Brock McGinn, Ryan Murphy, Matt Tennyson

Injured: Bryan Bickell (illness)

 

Status report

Andersen, who started against Ottawa, skated with healthy scratches Marincin and Marchenko Sunday, although no starting goaltender has been confirmed. ...Ward was not at the morning skate but is expected to start. ... The St. Louis Blues claimed Ty Rattie off waivers. The Hurricanes claimed Rattie, who has two assists in five games, from the Blues on Jan. 4.

 

Who's hot

Lindholm has 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in his past 17 games. ... Nylander has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past three games. ... Leivo has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past three games. ... Matthews has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past three games.

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