Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Tuesday, December 28th
Maple Leafs3
Game 2: Monday, January 24th
Maple Leafs4Final
Game 3: Thursday, February 3rd
Maple Leafs3
Game 4: Wednesday, March 16th
Maple Leafs3Final

Hurricanes 4

(16-15-4, 36 pts)

Maple Leafs 3

(13-18-4, 30 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 28, 2010

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
CAR 3 0 14
TOR 2 1 03

C. Ward (Hurricanes - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .919

M. Grabovski (Maple Leafs - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

E. Staal (Hurricanes - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview


With the Carolina Hurricanes having matched a season high with three straight losses, there are few opponents they would rather see than the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Carolina looks to make it five straight road wins against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night when the teams meet for the first time this season.

The Hurricanes' power-play struggles continued in Sunday night's 3-2 loss to visiting Washington, as they went scoreless on four opportunities. Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen each had a goal and an assist for Carolina (15-15-4), which has lost three straight in regulation for the first time this season.

"We just kind of have to execute a little better, get better chances," Ruutu said. "I don't think we got enough shots. I don't think we got any. ... We had enough chances to at least tie or win this game."

Consecutive penalties by the Capitals minutes after Ruutu made it a one-goal game early in the third period presented the Hurricanes with a golden opportunity to get the equalizer, but they managed only one shot on goal on the ensuing power plays.

Carolina is 4 for 41 with the man advantage in the last 12 games.

"(The power play) is your primary opportunity," coach Paul Maurice told the team's official website. "We need to put pucks in the net there."

That lack of production has contributed to a three-game skid during which Maurice's team has been outscored 11-5.

Getting back into the win column against Toronto seems likely for the Hurricanes, who won the final three meetings last season and are 9-3-0 in the past 12. Carolina has outscored the Maple Leafs 16-7 during four straight wins at Air Canada Centre.

Jokinen, who has two goals and two assists in three career visits to Toronto, ended his goal drought at 11 games Sunday and the Hurricanes would like to see rookie Jeff Skinner snap his at nine. He has five assists in that span but no goals since Dec. 3.

Toronto (13-17-4) took advantage of league-worst New Jersey and ended a three-game skid with a 4-1 road victory Sunday night. Colby Armstrong scored twice and Jonas Gustavsson stopped 29 shots as the Maple Leafs took a step toward escaping the Northeast Division basement.

Armstrong and linemates John Mitchell and Kris Versteeg combined for three goals and two assists.

"They had a good game. They did a great job forechecking and obviously scored three of the goals so it was a great game for those guys," coach Ron Wilson told the Maple Leafs' official website.

Mikhail Grabovski was limited to one assist Sunday, ending his goal streak at four games. He has seven goals and three assists in his last nine contests overall, and five goals in his last five against Carolina.

With Jean-Sebastien Giguere still nursing a groin injury, Gustavsson likely will make his fifth straight start. Gustavsson is 1-1-1 with a 3.25 goals-against average against the Hurricanes.