It's rumored Paul Maurice is on the hot seat these days, with his team in the basement of the Southeast Division, and only two points ahead of the New York Islanders for last place in the Eastern Conference. Oh, and the Isles have three games in hand.
Outside of his run to the Cup finals, I can't really think of a time when Paul Maurice ever worked magic with a team. Even that big run was on the back of a white-hot Cam Ward and emerging Eric Staal. He did some good work with individual players within the Leafs' organization while he coached the Toronto Marlies, but I just don't know how competent an NHL coach he is.
The Leafs have the chance to play coach killers tonight.
While the Canes haven't scored a single goal in their last two games, and the Leafs have exploded for seven, it's easy to figure out who the "hot" team is going into tonight. That said, I don't think that kind of narrative is very worthwhile, since each game is really a different roll of the (weighted) dice.
What may (or may not) turn out to be larger issues than "hot" or "cold" offense is the fact that the Leafs are playing their second game in less than 24 hours, had to travel to Raleigh last night, and have suffered a large number of important injuries.
As of right now, there has been no official word, but Ben Scrivens is expected to start for the Leafs against a struggling Cam Ward (.904 SV% in 16 GP) for Carolina.
Another storyline sure to receive some attention by broadcasters and media types is the fact that the Leafs are facing a number of former Leafs. What with the high turnover rate here in Toronto, it's not as though many of them will have been teammates, but Jay Harrison, Jiri Tlusty, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Tomas Kaberle are all expected to be in the lineup tonight. For myself, and I'm sure many of you feel the same way, Kabby is the only one that we'll have much of an attachment to.
For more info from the Carolina viewpoint, check out this great recap at Canes Country. Remember that if you go over there, play nice with the other kids, or one of your weekday or weekend daddies and/or one of their girlfriends is going to send you to your room.