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Preview: Toronto at Carolina

It’s too hot to make ice in Toronto, so they flew south.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs at Carolina Hurricanes: Game 58

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: PNC arena, in beautiful Raleigh, where it’s supposed to be 18° today.

Broadcast/Streaming: Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet 1, Fox Sports - Carolina

Opponent SBNation Site: Canes Country

A couple of weeks ago, and I’d have called this game a battle for the wild card, but the Hurricanes have simply sunk in the standings. They seem hopelessly out of it, but then Buffalo did a couple of weeks ago too.

Now Toronto is in a mess of teams all converging on a projected 93 or 94 points, and it’s impossible to say who has the best chance at the playoff spots open. There are seven teams at four points or less away from the wild card in the Eastern Conference, and Tampa is sitting there right below them not out of the game yet.

Hold on to your hats, or butts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

With Mitch Marner still out of the lineup, the Leafs will need to find some offensive spark on the rearranged lines. And if playing the suddenly defensively gifted Senators wasn’t annoying enough, now they face the Babcock system-playing Hurricanes, full of youth and vigour and blessed with terrible goaltending.

Toronto Maple Leafs

From the last game

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Conner Brown

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Josh Leivo

Matt Martin - Ben Smith - Nikita Soshnikov

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak


Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Carolina Hurricanes

From their last game

Forward Lines

Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner - Teuvo Teravainen - Lee Stempniak

Brock McGinn - Victor Rask - Derek Ryan

Joakim Nordstrom - Jay McClement - Viktor Stalberg

Defence Pairings

Jaccob Slavin - Matt Tennyson

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin - Klas Dahlbeck


Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

The expectation should be that Curtis McElhinney will get another start on this second back-to-back in recent games. And this one involving some nice, long travel too. This schedule is great isn’t it?

Cam Ward started in Carolina’s last game, a desultory defeat to the Colorado Avalanche in overtime. Eddie Lack is only just back after missing a lot of time due to injury. It seems likely Ward will be in net again.

We will update you with any word on lineup changes, but with no morning skate for the Leafs, there will likely be little information before game time.