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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Mar 24, 2024 7:07 am

Hurricanes look for season sweep of Maple Leafs

sebastian aho

Two teams that have been mostly sharp as the NHL regular season nears the end will meet when the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes get together Sunday night in Raleigh, N.C.

The Hurricanes (44-20-7, 95 points) have points in six consecutive games (5-0-1). Carolina’s 7-6 shootout loss Friday night at Washington stung because it seemed like several times the Hurricanes were in position to grab control of the game.

“Every little bad bounce seemed to go against us,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You have those. The bounces just really didn’t go our way.”

Toronto (40-20-9, 89 points), which has won four of its past six games, knocked off the visiting Edmonton Oilers 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Maple Leafs probably won’t use goalie Ilya Samsonov on Sunday after he left the game vs. Edmonton with a third-period injury.

“It looks like he’s going to be fine,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game, per The Athletic. “It’s not anything near what it appeared or what I thought it might have been.”

Carolina hasn’t lost consecutive games since late February, and one of those setbacks came in a shootout. The latest shootout, on Friday, concluded a game with wild stretches of offense.

“We battled until the end,” center Sebastian Aho said. “The effort is there for sure, but we have to be more focused on not taking penalties and not giving them all the momentum when it’s not needed.”

The production for Carolina has come in various fashions.

Aho reached the 30-goal level with his hat track Friday night. He’s one assist away from 300 for his career.

Forward Seth Jarvis has scored at least one goal in six consecutive games, pushing his season total to 27.

“He’s a pure goal-scorer,” said linemate Jake Guentzel, who was acquired at the trade deadline. “He’s always around the net and he finds those soft areas. You don’t realize how good of a shot he has. It has been unbelievable to play with him.”

Toronto’s William Nylander has been nearly as productive. He has a five-game goal streak.

The Hurricanes have been dinged up a bit during the past week. Forward Jesper Fast has missed back-to-back games, with the team going with a lineup of seven defensemen.

But having added Guentzel and also forward Evgeny Kuznetsov at the trade deadline has provided the Hurricanes with quality depth on their key lines.

The Maple Leafs have their own health concerns. Mitch Marner (ankle), Calle Jarnkrok (hand) and Tyler Bertuzzi (illness) were out Saturday. However, it’s possible that defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin will be back after missing the last three games because of illness.

Center Max Domi, who played for the Hurricanes near the end of the 2021-22 season, is one of two Toronto players to appear in every game this season. Nylander is the other.

Frederik Andersen will be back in Carolina net, looking for his sixth consecutive victory since returning from a months-long absence dealing with a health issue.

This will be the third and final meeting of the season between the teams. Carolina won 3-2 on Dec. 30 in Toronto when Aho had one goal and two assists, and then returned there March 16 for a 5-4 shootout victory, with Aho again collecting three points (two goals, one assist).

Toronto will be making its first visit to Raleigh this season. The Maple Leafs hold a 21-8-6 road record, winning seven of their last eight games away from home.

–Field Level Media

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