Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 03, 2013
The Carolina Hurricanes are generating plenty of shots. They're just not capitalizing on their opportunities as often as they'd like and have been unable to gain much traction in the season's early going as a result. They get a chance to reverse that trend Monday night against the Maple Leafs at Toronto, where they've had success while dominating the series of late. Carolina has won six of eight in Toronto and eight of 11 overall in the series, averaging 4.4 goals in those victories. Carolina (3-4-0), though, has lost two of three and gave up five goals for the third time this season in a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday, the first stop on a season-long six-game road trip. The Hurricanes recorded 42 shots for the third time but only found the back of the net on three. They're averaging 38.1 shots on goal - the most in the NHL - but have scored 18 times on 267 total shots for a 6.7 percentage that ranks last. Carolina's power play has been ineffective, scoring on 1 of 6 chances against the Flyers and only 4 of 36 opportunities (11.1 percent) on the season. "Our power play just wasn't good enough, I think," Eric Staal told NHL.com. "We need to execute a little bit better. There were some plays we could have had but we just didn't make it happen." Staal and Jeff Skinner have provided most of Carolina's scoring, accounting for 11 of the team's 18 goals. Free-agent signing Alexander Semin has just one goal on 31 shots. The Maple Leafs are 4-4-0 and are 1-3-0 at home - their worst start on home ice since dropping their first six home contests in 2009-10. They strung together their first consecutive wins overall before suffering a 1-0 home loss to Boston on Saturday. Toronto victimized itself with sloppy play around the Bruins' blue line, often giving up the puck while only mounting 21 shots. The Leafs are averaging 2.0 goals at home compared to 3.3 in road games. "That's the way they play, and they're a good team," coach Randy Carlyle said. "They did what they had to do to be effective to play a road game and we didn't do enough of the things that we're capable of to establish a strong home game in the 60 minutes." Starring in the loss was goaltender James Reimer, who stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced. Reimer is off to a solid start, posting a .922 save percentage while starting Toronto's last four games. Ben Scrivens' save percentage is .881. Reimer has been solid in four starts against Carolina, going 3-0-1 with a shutout and a 1.48 goals-against average. "James Reimer gave us a chance," Carlyle said. "That's all you can ask of your goaltender." Despite taking 36 shots in eight games, Phil Kessel is still scoreless and seeking his 100th goal with Toronto. He had nine goals in his first eight games last year before finishing with a team-best 37.
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