Toronto Maple Leafs (21-18-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (18-16-9)
|Date & Time||Thursday January 9, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
|Location||Unknown Location Unknown Address|
The Line: Carolina Hurricanes -121 / Toronto Maple Leafs +110 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Toronto Maple Leafs looks to shake off an ugly loss against the Islanders as they take to the road to take on the suddenly surging Carolina Hurricanes.
The Maple Leafs were riding high after they upended the Red Wings in the 2014 Winter Classic but heading back indoors hasn’t gone well for the Buds of late as they have dropped their last two games by scores of 7-1 and 5-3. The mini two game slide has the Leafs in fifth place in the Atlantic division and right on the cusp in the Eastern Conference playoff race and with this being the second half of the regular season Randy Carlyle knows his team needs to start winning now. The Leafs were heartbroken in last year’s playoffs against the Bruins and started this year with a vengeance but lately they are playing .500 hockey and don’t seem to have the same spark they once did especially in goal. Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer are two very solid net minders but with the former struggling in the last two games it is almost a foregone conclusion that Reimer will suit up tonight against the Canes.
Carolina is heading in the opposite direction as they started the season off slowly but have come around of late and are right in the mix in the Metropolitan division, at least as it stands for second place. The Canes have a pretty solid team at both ends of the rink but could never find the consistency necessary to be relevant in the standings but in the midst of a four game winning streak they are very much alive and well. Eric and Jordan Staal along with Alex Semin and Jeff Skinner make up the bulk of the Hurricnes offensive threat and American Olympian Justin Faulk anchoring the blue line it gives Cam Ward and Justin Peters some confidence in the crease. This is a very tough game to call as to me it is the Leafs that are the better team overall but it is the Canes who have been playing better hockey of late. With all things considered I’m going to take a swing with the road team as I think they’re getting great value and I think they respond after a sluggish two games back.