NHL Hockey: Toronto Maple Leafs at Carolina Hurricanes - Leafs Favored

Team Page: Toronto :: Carolina

53% of Bets Placed on Maple Leafs -160 | Matchup | Goalies
The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping they can turn their defense around in the second half of the season, but doing it against the Carolina Hurricanes won't be easy.

Oddsmakers have made Carolina -170 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 6.5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books).


The Maple Leafs open a season-high five-game road trip Tuesday when they meet the Hurricanes.

Toronto (23-21-6) ranks near the bottom of the league with 3.30 goals allowed per game. However, the Maple Leafs got a strong defensive effort in Saturday's 4-1 win over Montreal in their first game following the All-Star break.

Toronto's penalty kill, which also ranks among the worst in the league, allowed just one goal on seven chances after giving up five man-advantage goals in its previous game, an 8-2 loss at Pittsburgh on Jan. 20.

"We were better defensively tonight," coach Paul Maurice said. "I thought that after the first 10 minutes we moved the puck from our end out much better."

Defenseman Pavel Kubina, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract in the offseason, scored twice for just his third and fourth goals of the season. Maurice said that breaking out of his offensive slump will also help Kubina defensively.

"Being a part of a team that plays a better defensive game, he's a big part of that. I think it kind of goes hand-in-hand. When a guy who wants points, and needs them, starts to put pucks in the net he relaxes defensively."

Mats Sundin also scored Saturday for Toronto, recording his first goal in nine games. He has 1,210 career points, tied with Bobby Clarke for 38th on the all-time list.

The Maple Leafs also visit the New York Rangers, Ottawa, St. Louis and Nashville on the trip.

Their defense could have a tough time on the first stop against Carolina, which is averaging 3.12 goals per game. The Hurricanes (26-20-6) have scored nine goals in their two games since the break, including Saturday's 7-3 loss at Washington.

Justin Williams, Erik Cole and David Tanabe scored for Carolina, which defeated the Capitals 6-2 on Friday in the first game of a home-and-home series.

"Last night, we were doing simple things and not turning the puck over," Tanabe said. "And when we do that, we have success."

Coach Peter Laviolette was clearly frustrated with his team, which has dropped four of its last six.

"We need to pay a price every night and right now we're not doing that," Laviolette said. "Anybody (who) thinks that we paid the price tonight or that we were somewhat interested in skating and battling Washington - I hope nobody leaves the room thinking that. I really do. ... Not a lot. Not a lot to hang your hat on."

The Hurricanes are in sixth place in the jumbled Eastern Conference with 58 points, six ahead of Toronto. The Maple Leafs are two points out of eighth place in the conference.

"There's so many good teams," Carolina center Eric Staal said. "You can find yourself anywhere from third to 13th, so points are valuable. Tonight was big for us; didn't happen. So we need to look forward to the next game."

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

More NHL Hockey coverage from theSpread.com

 - NHL Hockey news wire
 - NHL top stories
 - Current NHL injuries
 - NHL Hockey schedule
 - NHL Hockey standings
 - NHL goalie stats
 - NHL Hockey scoreboard
 - NHL Hockey odds
 - NHL public betting charts
 - Expert NHL Picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NHL Home

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Kings vs. Golden Knights Pick Will the Los Angeles Kings be able to start a winning streak when they hit the road to face the Vegas Golden Knights...
Thumbnail Blackhawks vs. Penguins Pick Two of hockey’s most stories franchises meet up tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7PM ET.
Thumbnail Rangers vs. Blue Jackets Pick Will the Columbus Blue Jackets take care of business at home when they host the New York Rangers tonight at 7PM...
Thumbnail Blues vs. Oilers Pick Will the St. Louis Blues upset the host Edmonton Oilers as a small underdog tonight at...
Thumbnail Rangers vs. Blackhawks Pick Will the Chicago Blackhawks get back to being a winning team when they welcome the New York Rangers to town...

NHL Headlines

NHL Team Pages