February 4th Leafs vs Canes pregame
Carolina Hurricanes (3-4-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (4-4-0)
Arena: Air Canada Center
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM
TV: Sportsnet Radio: Fan 590
Last Season: (1-2-1)
After a tough loss to the Bruins, the Leafs face off against the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time this season. Last year Eric Staal feasted on the Leafs scoring 6 points in just 4 games. The Hurricanes are playing some good hockey to start the year, and currently find themselves two points back of the Leafs for the final playoff spot, with the aforementioned Eric Staal looking as strong and determined as ever. It’s the Leafs last game on their current three game home stand and they’ll be looking to end it with a victory.
James Reimer turned in yet another stellar effort against the Bruins, and has really silenced his critics. This was the second time in a week (following the Rangers game) that Reimer singlehandedly kept the Leafs in the game. While it’s safe to say James Reimer will be in net, the starter on the other end might not be as obvious. Cam Ward has gotten off to a slow start with a 4.05 GAA and a .867 Save Percentage in 5 games. Meanwhile, his backup, Dan Ellis, has played 4 games and has posted a 1.99 GAA and a .936 Save Percentage.
Containing the Staals:
While the Leafs have been used to facing Eric Staal in the red and white, they now get to see his brother, Jordan as well. The Staals both bring big bodies and a strong net drive, coupled with high skill levels and a big part of the Leafs’ success in this game revolves around containing these two forwards.
Shoot the Puck:
For all their heralded defensive play, the Leafs offensive game seems to have gone MIA. After registering only 20 shots against the Bruins, the Leafs must find a way to get in on the forecheck, force turnovers, and get pucks on the net. Not to mention the fact that their powerplay needs to step it up in a big way. Perhaps some different looks personnel wise are on the horizon.
Check out the postgame shortly after the game is completed.