Carolina Hurricanes @ Toronto Maple Leafs
07:00 PM at Scotiabank Arena
Watch on: NHLN, TVAS, TSN4, BSSO
The Leafs last game was at home on March 15 against the Colorado Avalanche, which Toronto lost by a score of 2-1. The Leafs have a record of 40-18-9 so far.
The Carolina Hurricanes last played at home on March 14 against the Winnipeg Jets. The Hurricanes won by a score of 5-3, and their current league record is 44-14-8.
The Hurricanes have been a top team by both expected goal numbers and by record for the entire season — though with the caveat that they are, as they always tend to be, better at getting expected goals than scoring actual goals. Nonetheless, they’re a very strong opponent.
Over the weekend, though, they found out that Andrei Svechnikov is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Losing one of their most consistent and effective scorers when they already struggle to convert their chances is a tough blow for them, but they’re still a contender in spite of injuries.
“I know how we're going to respond. We're going to play our hardest. We're going to do our best to piece it together. Everyone has to step up.”— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) March 16, 2023
It’s always been a full team effort with Rod Brind’Amour’s #Canes, and that won’t stop now. https://t.co/lq65TAfubJ
As far as their lines, I’d expect them to use similar lines to the ones they had for their win in Winnipeg on Tuesday. It’s possible that defenceman Jalen Chatfield could return from injury and slot back in next to Gostisbehere, though.
Rod Brind’Amour has not announced the starting goalie for tonight as the Canes did not have a morning skate today. Generally, the Canes have been switching between former Leaf Andersen and rookie Pyotr Kochetkov on a game-by-game basis, and Andersen started against Winnipeg. That said, I would expect Andersen tonight, given that the Leafs are his former team and it’s the first night of a back-to-back for the Hurricanes as well.
Last Game (03/14) via Daily Faceoff from the last game.
Jesse Puljujarvi - Sebastian Aho - Seth Jarvis
Teuvo Teravainen - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Derek Stepan - Jack Drury - Stefan Noesen
Jaccob Slavin - Brent Burns
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere - Dylan Coghlan
Frederik Andersen - projected starter
It’s been a bumpy ride for the Leafs in recent games. They’ve won three of their last five and had points in four, but they haven’t been pretty. The stats have reflected the recent struggles too — note the precipitous drop in xGF% over the past few games here (graph from NST):
Is it ROR’s injury? 11F 7D? Too many new faces? It’s hard to know, but hopefully we’ll see them turn it around in the next few games.
Why has the team been struggling of late?
|Too many new guys||27|
|Classic late season Leaf struggles||20|
|All of it||81|
As far as lines go, Holl’s being rotated out tonight to facilitate Schenn’s return to the lineup, and the team’s sticking with 11 forwards and 7 defencemen. We should expect a lot of this kind of rotating in the final stretch as Keefe tries to work everyone in.
For goalies, Matt Murray will be the starter against Ottawa on Saturday, so Samsonov will draw in tonight. Samsonov has been playing well lately, and was great against Colorado on Wednesday, so it makes sense to start him on the first night of the back-to-back and against a stronger opponent anyway.
Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Michael Bunting - John Tavares - William Nylander
Alex Kerfoot - Sam Lafferty - Calle Järnkrok
Zach Aston-Reese - David Kämpf - Noel Acciari
Extras: Wayne Simmonds, Alex Steeves
Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake McCabe - Luke Schenn
Mark Giordano - Timothy Liljegren - Erik Gustafsson
Ilya Samsonov - confirmed starter
The Leafs last faced the Hurricanes on November 6th, and they won 3-1. You may remember that game from this beautiful effort by William Nylander:
It’s St. Patrick’s day, which means that the Leafs will be playing with the green jerseys tonight. My recollection is that the Leafs have been quite bad in the green jerseys, but one year ago today the Leafs won 3-2 against the Canes on goals by Mikheyev, Marner, and Kase. The Hurricanes have the guy who scored the game-winner now, but he’s injured. Poor Kase.
Can the Leafs pull out another St. Patty’s win against the Hurricanes? Can they play a strong, 60-minute game? We’ll find out at 7.