The Toronto Maple Leafs have been scoring plenty of goals and getting good play in net since a recent loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. If the Maple Leafs are going to remain undefeated since that defeat, they’ll have to do it without winger Matt Frattin and goaltender James Reimer.
Toronto will try to win five straight for the first time in six seasons on Thursday night when it faces the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes, who look to build off a solid six-game trip.
Since losing 1-0 to Boston on Feb. 2 and 4-1 to Carolina (7-4-1) two days later, the Maple Leafs (8-5-0) have outscored their opponents 17-6 while matching their longest winning streak since Jan. 3-10, 2012.
Toronto’s last 5-0-0 run spanned Jan. 27-Feb. 6, 2007.
The Maple Leafs will try to match that streak without Frattin, who is sidelined at least a week as he needs a procedure on his surgically repaired knee. Nazem Kadri and Clarke MacArthur will now be joined on the top line by Jay McClement, who has one assist in his last six games.
Defensively, Toronto will have to lean on Ben Scrivens and recent call-up Jussi Rynnas for the next week or so after Reimer suffered a strained knee ligament in the second period of Monday’s 5-2 victory over Philadelphia.
Carlyle gives the nod to Ben Scrivens tonight, will face a Carolina team that’s netted 20 goals during a 4-0-1 run that began on Feb. 4.
The Hurricanes take the ice for the first time since capping off a 4-1-1 stretch outside of Raleigh – their best trip of that length since going 5-1-0 from Feb. 7-March 8, 1998 – with Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey.
Toronto, though, has dropped two straight and seven of 10 visiting the Hurricanes.
Carolina could continue its dominance in this series – it has won nine of the last 12 meetings – if captain Eric Staal and center Jiri Tlusty keep generating offense. All eight of Staal’s goals and all eight of his assists have come during a 10-game point streak, while all five of Tlusty’s goals have come in the last three games.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Ben Scrivens
Carolina Hurricanes – Dan Ellis
It’s very shocking to me that Dan Ellis is starting in this game against a newly founded high scoring Leafs team. Especially since they placed him on waiver just last week, obviously he cleared. I know Cam Ward has struggled this seasons so far, but Ellis doesn’t give you the edge in net what so ever.
According to Vegas’ odds the Leafs are the underdog in this match-up. It’s good value but we are going to shy away from the money-line and take the game total. Both goaltenders in this game have been shaky thus far and I don’t expect either of them to find their game tonight. On top of that, the Hurricanes are averaging 3.17 goals per game and the Leafs are averaging 3.00 goals per game. Both teams have been red hot in terms of scoring goals lately, expect a high scoring affair.
OVER 5.5 ($100)
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