The Storm Surge is a tired act: Leafs Tailgate
Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Alberga8 months ago
Put it this way: The last time the Leafs (43-19-9) swept a season series against Carolina (46-16-8), the Hurricanes were in Hartford and they were called the Whalers.
Yeah, it’s been a while.
Well, tonight at PNC Arena, they’ll have a chance to do just that in the third and final match-up between the two squads this season.
Just eight nights ago at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto walked away with a 5-2 victory. Additionally, they squeaked out a 3-1 win in Carolina in early November, too.
The Leafs, who are coming off an impressive 6-2 victory in Sunrise on Thursday night, are 2-1-0 so far on their five-game road trip. Entering tonight’s action, they’re five points up on Tampa with two games in hand for second in the Atlantic Division.
Meantime, Carolina’s coming off a 2-1 loss at home against the Rangers on Thursday night. They’re currently clinging to first in the Metro Division.
TIME: 7 PM ET (CBC, SNO)
TOR Matt Murray – LIKELY (11-6-5, 2.92, 0.906, 1 SO)
CAR Pyotr Kochetkov – LIKELY (19-8-0, 2.38, 0.909, 4 SO)
CAN THE LEAFS KEEP THE STRING OF HOT STARTS COMING?
Last time out against the Canes, the Leafs scored the first goal. In fact, that’s been a theme for this team over the past little while. Sheldon Keefe’s squad has scored first in eight straight outings. Against a tenacious team like Carolina, that’s so important. On top of that, scoring first can also go a long way in silencing that ruckus crowd at PNC Arena. Not that I make much of home ice advantage in the NHL, but I do think that barn’s one of the tougher ones to play in. Rod Brind’Amour is exceptional coach. It always seems like the Canes are ready to play. That said, Toronto’s had their number so far this season. More of the same, please.
Don’t look now but Matt Murray has put together two quality starts in a row. He made 48 saves last Saturday in a shootout victory in Ottawa, then followed up with a 33 save masterpiece in Sunrise on Thursday night. Looking ahead to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s so imperative for both goalies to be feeling good about their game entering the series against Tampa. With each ensuing appearance since coming back from the ankle injury, Murray has looked more and more comfortable. Let’s see if he can keep things going tonight!
Carolina’s the type of team that will eat you up if you make a mistake. With that in mind, attention to detail defensively and puck management are two things the Leafs will need to fortify ahead of their showdown with the Lightning. Furthermore, last Friday, I thought Toronto did a great job of flipping the script on Carolina and capitalizing on some of their mistakes. They took it to them, and I want to see more of that tonight.
(As of Noon EDT)
Over Matt Murray SAVES
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