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Preview: Maple Leafs at Hurricanes

Toronto tries for third straight win; Cam Ward in goal for Carolina

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (30-22-14) at HURRICANES (27-27-10)

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

 

Maple Leafs team scope

The Toronto Maple Leafs enter the opener of a three-game road trip one point behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They also began the day two points behind the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs had a limited morning skate, with backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney and five skaters; Frederik Andersen is expected to start. Toronto has won two in a row, defeating the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers at home, but is 2-6-2 in its past 10 road games, although one of the victories was a 4-0 win at Carolina on Feb. 19.

 

Hurricanes team scope

Goaltender Cam Ward will start for the Carolina Hurricanes after making 40 saves in a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers on Thursday. Carolina and Toronto will play the third and final game of their season series. The Hurricanes won 2-1 in Toronto on Nov. 22 and lost 4-0 in Raleigh on Feb. 19. Carolina coach Bill Peters spent three seasons as an assistant to Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock with the Detroit Red Wings from 2011-14. "Whoever wins this has bragging rights all summer long, so it better be the guy standing in front of you," said Peters, who hosted Babcock for dinner Friday and noted "I hope we play better than I barbequed. There are no side wagers between the close friends. "It's pride," Peters said. "That's more important than money."

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Brian Boyle -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Alexey Marchenko

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Martin Marincin, Eric Fehr, Josh Leivo, Ben Smith

Injured: Connor Carrick (upper body)

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Teuvo Teravainen

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Elias Lindholm

Valentin Zykov -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom - Jay McClement -- Patrick Brown

Jaccob Slavin -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Brett Pesce

Klas Dahlbeck -- Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Matt Tennyson

Injured: Phillip Di Giuseppe (upper body), Brock McGinn (upper body)

 

Status report

McGinn and Di Giuseppe wore non-contact jerseys at the morning skate. Peters said he hoped to have at least one back in the lineup in time to face the Minnesota Wild next Thursday.

 

Who's hot

Toronto has the NHL's top-rated power play (23.7 percent) and went 2-for-2 on Thursday. Marner has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games. Bozak has six points (two goals, four assists in four games. Kadri has one goal in each of the past three games. ... Aho had two goals and an assist against the New York Rangers on Thursday. Rask has six points (one goals, five assists) in the past seven games.

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