Toronto at Carolina
When: 7:00 PM
ET, Sunday, February 19, 2017
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
The Carolina Hurricanes slowly are fading out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture thanks to a three-game winless streak, but they can gain on one of their competitors when the Toronto Maple Leafs pay them a visit on Sunday. The Hurricanes came out of their bye week and dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to NHL-worst Colorado on Friday, falling into a tie with Detroit for last in the East (56 points).
“This is what it looks like,” Carolina coach Bill Peters told reporters of his team’s stale performance after not playing for six days. “This isn’t a surprise to anybody. We didn’t skate. We didn’t move the puck. We didn’t execute.” Toronto is struggling through a 1-3-1 stretch and is not expected to have one of its two young leading scorers, Mitch Marner (shoulder), in the lineup for the second straight game. “He’s a huge part of our team,” Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk told reporters. “You see the kind of success he’s had, it’s an opportunity for other guys to step up and play different roles." The Maple Leafs battled back from a two-goal deficit Saturday to take a 3-2 lead before surrendering the game’s last four tallies in the loss to Ottawa.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet360 (Toronto), FSN Carolinas
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (26-20-11): Fellow rookie Auston Matthews recorded a pair of assists Saturday to tie Marner for the team lead with 48 points, while van Riemsdyk has notched just one point in his last seven games. Nazem Kadri scored on Saturday, giving him four tallies – all in his last three games – and five assists over his last eight contests as he moved into third place on the club with 45 points. Defenseman Morgan Rielly has scored three goals this season, including two in his last five games, but the 22-year-old has posted a minus-7 rating this month.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (24-22-8): Carolina has scored just three times in the last three games and its power play has been little help, going 1-for-10 in the past four contests. Leading scorer Jeff Skinner (38 points) netted his 19th tally on Friday and is one away from his fifth 20-goal season, while Victor Rask has gone 12 games without hitting the scoresheet. Rookie Sebastian Aho (32 points) has recorded five of his 17 goals in the last six games while Jordan Staal (30) has scored once and set up five other tallies over his last six contests.
1. Toronto C William Nylander has collected six goals and three assists in nine games this month, giving him 40 points on the season.
2. The Hurricanes, who lead the league in penalty-killing percentage (86.4), have earned points in 18 of their last 21 home games (16-3-2).
3. Carolina is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings, including a 2-1 win at Toronto on Nov. 22 in which G Cam Ward improved to 17-10-3 all-time against Toronto.
PREDICTION: Hurricanes 4, Maple Leafs 3
Stats and Records