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Game Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at Carolina Hurricanes

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Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Leafs at Hurricanes: Game# 67

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh North Carolina

Broadcast/Streaming: Hockey Night in Canada

Opponent SBNation Site: Canes Country

I think everyone would agree the Leafs have officially bounced back from the disaster in California. There were convincing wins against both the Red Wings and the Flyers this week, allowing them to stand pat one point out of the wild card playoff slot.

Tonight the Leafs face a team that’s third last in the Eastern Conference, has a -26 goal differential because of goaltending that’s way under league average, has a well known ex-Leaf on the roster, and this will all be broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada.

Someone calculate the odds of Jay McClement getting a hat trick tonight, and the Leafs finishing the season one point out of the playoffs because of that!

The Hurricanes also have this bizarre home vs. away win disparity this season. I don’t recall the last time I saw a team this out of whack. Their home record is 19-10-2. Their away record is 8-17-8. The Leafs are in dangerous territory tonight.

“But”, you say, “the Leafs have all the awesome rookies, so that will tip the balance in the Leafs favour, right?” Perhaps, but don’t forget the Canes have a rookie on fire too. Sebastien Aho has 20 goals and 18 assists so far this season. He’s made the highlight reels quite a bit, including some ridiculous plays vs. the Flyers in January. The first two of his three goals that night are insane.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown

Matt Martin - Brian Boyle - Nikita Soshnikov

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner - MarMar

Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Carolina Hurricanes

Forward Lines

Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Valentin Zykov

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Teuvo Teravainen - Derek Ryan - Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom - Jay McClement - Patrick Brown

Defence Pairings

Jaccob Slavin - Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce

Klas Dahlbeck - Ryan Murphy

Goaltenders

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

You may recall about two weeks ago Hurricanes Coach Peters had a very public spat with Eddie Lack over his performance. Cam Ward is supposedly the number one goalie but he’s not exactly a top performer in the league. His all situations sv% this season over 51 games is 0.905. That’s “bad Andersen” level of bad. Hopefully the Leafs get “good Andersen” tonight.

The Hurricanes won their last game, a surprise 4-3 victory of the Rangers on Thursday. Let’s hope for no surprises for the Leafs tonight. After all, bragging rights are at stake!

Umm. OK.