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BACK-TO-BACK GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning

Friday, 12.15.2006 / 9:55 AM / News
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BACK-TO-BACK GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning
PAUL BRANECKY & KEN PRESTON

'CANES RETURN HOME TO FAMILIAR FACES

RALEIGH, N.C. - Besides the thousands of Caniacs that will be at the RBC Center Friday night, The Carolina Hurricanes will notice a few more faces they haven't seen in a long time.

That's because the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs feature three individuals with a prominent place in Hurricanes history. They are coached by Paul Maurice, who spent parts of nine seasons with the franchise and was the first coach in Hurricanes history. The Leafs will also bring Hurricanes all-time leading goal scorer Jeff O'Neill and key 2002 playoff performer and fan favorite Bates Battaglia back to Raleigh.

In an eerie twist, tonight's game will be played exactly three years to the day since Maurice was let go by the Hurricanes in 2003. Both he and Battaglia have just recently returned to the NHL after spending last season with the Maple Leafs' minor league affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Although they haven't been together for a long time, veteran members of the current Hurricanes squad have always wished their old comrades well. "It's good to see Paul Maurice back in the National Hockey League, as well as Bates Battaglia," said defenseman Bret Hedican. I know [Battaglia] has worked hard the last few years to try and get a shot back in. Sometimes you've just got to be patient and wait for that next opportunity and make the best of it, and it sounds like he did that in Toronto."

Even though there are sure to be some mixed feelings leading up to the game, don't expect that to distract the Hurricanes once things get going. "When the puck drops, obviously it's all business," said defenseman Glen Wesley, who aside from a brief tour of duty with Toronto in the 2003 playoffs was present for the entire Maurice regime in Carolina.

Head Coach Peter Laviolette says that the team can't afford to worry too much about the former Hurricanes on Toronto's roster, especially since emotional games such as this one can have varying affects on performance.

"I've seen it work both ways," said Laviolette. "There's been times when people have come back and been frozen and non-existent, and there's times when they've come back and been first star of the game, so it's hard to say."

Instead, the Hurricanes will focus more on what they need to do to break out of a four-game winless streak that coincided with their trip through the Northwest Division. Although Cory Stillman is healthy and even picked up an assist in his first game back Monday night, they may be without captain Rod Brind'Amour for the third straight game.

It's no coincidence that the team has struggled with face offs and penalty killing in the games played without Brind'Amour. However, no one player will be asked to fill that void.

"We need everybody," said Laviolette. "We need great goaltending tomorrow night. We need our defense to play tough in front of [the net], and we need all our forwards contributing offensively. We need everybody to be great."

The Maple Leafs have also struggled of late. Prior to beating Tampa Bay Tuesday night, the Leafs had lost seven straight to drop to 10th place in the Eastern Conference. However, they are only one point behind 6th placed Carolina in what is shaping up to be a real battle for the final few playoff spots.

Although the playoffs still are still months away, the Hurricanes are still committed to keeping their spot. The team's hunger for a win isn't good news for Maurice, who won't receive any good will from Glen Wesley once the game begins.

"I wish him all the success in the world, but not tomorrow night," said Wesley

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Friday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
RBC Center * Raleigh, NC
Hurricanes: 15-13-4 (34 pts.), 2nd Southeast Division
Maple Leafs: 14-13-5 (33 pts.), 4th Northeast Division

Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning
Saturday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
St. Pete Times Forum * Tampa, FL
Lightning: 14-15-2 (30 pts.), 4th Southeast Division

* All statistics prior to Tampa Bay’s game at Montreal on Thursday, Dec. 14

BACK-TO-BACK GAMES
The Carolina Hurricanes return to the RBC Center on Friday to face the Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m., FSN South, Hurricanes Radio Network). It is the first game of a back-to-back set for Carolina as the team will travel to Tampa Bay following Friday’s game for a Saturday match up against the Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum (7:30 p.m., FSN South HD, Hurricanes Radio Network). Friday’s game marks the Hurricanes’ first home game since a 5-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 2. It also marks the first return to the RBC Center for former Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice behind the bench for another NHL team. The Maple Leafs also bring along former Hurricanes wingers Bates Battaglia and Jeff O’Neill.

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Defenseman Bret Hedican played his 900th NHL game on Dec. 11 at COL.
  • Winger Erik Cole is two points shy of 200 for his NHL career

CURRENT STREAKS

  • Right wing Justin Williams has earned points in each of the last two games (12/8-12/11: 2g, 1a)
  • Center Eric Staal has earned assists and points in each of the last two games (12/8-12/11: 0g, 2a)

Television: FSN South (Saturday’s FSN South telecast available in HD)
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh – flagship), Pirate Radio – WGHB 1250 AM and WDLX 930 AM (Greenville, NC… check listings for games), News Talk Radio WFNC 640 AM (Fayetteville, NC… Saturdays and Sundays)
Internet: www.nhl.com, www.CarolinaHurricanes.com

CAROLINA NOTES
Friday’s game marks former Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice’s first return to the RBC Center at the helm of another NHL team since the Hurricanes made their coaching change and hired Peter Laviolette on Dec. 15, 2003. Maurice coached parts of nine seasons with the Hurricanes franchise, posting a 268-307-99 record in 674 regular-season games and winning two Southeast Division titles. Maurice guided the Hurricanes to the 2002 Eastern Conference crown and the franchise’s first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. In parts of three seasons since taking the Hurricanes job, Laviolette has posted an 87-61-18 record in 166 regular-season games and led the team to the Southeast Division title, the Eastern Conference championship and the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship in 2005-06.

Carolina Hurricanes right wing Justin Williams notched his third multi-goal game of the season when he scored twice at Colorado on Dec. 11. Williams’ first multi-goal game this season came on Oct. 16 at Tampa Bay, when he notched his first career hat trick in a 5-1 rout of the Lightning. Williams now ranks second on the team with 13 goals and ranks tied for third on the team with 30 points. He leads the team with 15 power-play points, ranks second with six power-play goals and leads the team with two shorthanded goals. Williams had seven two-goal games in 346 career NHL regular-season games prior to his Oct. 16 hat trick.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 8-4-1
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 7-9-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 27-of-189 (14.3%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 146-of-176 (83.0%)

INJURY REPORT

  • Defenseman David Tanabe, lower body, day-to-day, missed 1 game
  • Captain Rod Brind’Amour, lower body, day-to-day, missed 2 games
  • Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, shoulder, out, missed 32 games

HURRICANES PRACTICE SCHEDULE

Dec. 15 Friday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 16 Saturday St. Pete Times Forum 11:30 a.m.
Dec. 17 Sunday off
Dec. 18 Monday RecZone 11:00 a.m.
Dec. 19 Tuesday Wachovia Center 11:30 a.m.
Dec. 20 Wednesday RecZone 12:00 p.m.
Dec. 21 Thursday RBC Center 11:00 a.m.
Dec. 22 Friday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 23 Saturday BankAtlantic Center 11:30 a.m.
Dec. 24 Sunday off
Dec. 25 Monday off
Dec. 26 Tuesday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 27 Wednesday RBC Center 11:00 a.m.
Dec. 28 Thursday HSBC Arena 11:30 a.m.
Dec. 29 Friday TBD
Dec. 30 Saturday RecZone 10:30 a.m.
Dec. 31 Sunday RBC Center 10:30 a.m.

DECEMBER
Practice Type
Time
Location
Fri., Dec. 15
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Sat., Dec. 16
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL
Sun., Dec. 17
OFF
Mon., Dec. 18
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Tue., Dec. 19
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA
Wed., Dec. 20
Team Practice
12:00 p.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Thurs., Dec. 21
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Fri., Dec. 22
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh, NC
Sat., Dec. 23
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
BankAtlantic Center, Florida
Sun., Dec. 24
OFF
Mon., Dec. 25
OFF
Tue., Dec. 26
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Wed., Dec. 27
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh, NC
Thurs., Dec. 28
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY
Fri., Dec. 29
TBD
TBD
TBD
Sat., Dec. 30
Team Practice
10:30 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Sun., Dec. 31
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh

*All times are local… Times and locations subject to change

AGAINST THE MAPLE LEAFS
Friday’s game marks the first of four regular-season meetings between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs, and marks the first of two meetings between the clubs this season at the RBC Center. Last season, the Hurricanes posted a 2-1-1 record in the teams’ four meetings, winning both games at the RBC Center by 4-3 scores. The Maple Leafs scored 5-4 overtime win on Oct. 20, 2005, and a 3-2 win on March 21 in the two games at the Air Canada Center. The Hurricanes post a 38-26-12-1 all-time record against the Maple Leafs, with a 20-12-6-1 home mark and an 18-14-6 record in Toronto.

AGAINST THE LIGHTNING
Saturday marks the fourth of eight meetings this season between the Hurricanes and the Lightning and the second game of a back-to-back set for the Hurricanes. The Lightning scored a 5-1 win in the first game of the home-and-home set on Oct. 26 at St. Pete Times Forum when Martin St. Louis had his fourth career hat trick and third against Carolina. The Hurricanes took the first meeting between the clubs this season 5-1 on Oct. 16 at St. Pete Times Forum behind Justin Williams’ first career hat trick, and scored a 6-4 win against the Lightning at the RBC Center on Oct. 28. Last season, the Hurricanes posted a 3-3-2 record against the Lightning, taking three of the teams’ four meetings at the RBC Center, and losing all four games at St. Pete Times Forum, two in overtime. Eric Staal (4g, 5a) and Cory Stillman (4g, 5a), led the Hurricanes with nine points each in the eight-game series last year, while Brad Richards (4g, 9a) led Tampa Bay with 13 points. The Hurricanes post a 29-22-12-1 all-time record against the Lightning, including an 19-5-7-1 home record and a 10-17-5 mark along the Gulf Coast.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

Hurricanes
GP
G
A
PTS
17 Brind'Amour
30
10
26
36
13 Whitney
32
10
21
31
11 Williams
32
13
18
30
26 Cole
32
12
18
30

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
30 Ward
24
2.98
13-8-3
.893
47 Grahame
9
3.25
2-5-1
.894

Toronto
GP
G
A
PTS
16 Tucker
32
18
10
28
24 McCabe
32
7
19
26
15 Kaberle
32
7
19
26

42 Wellwood

32
6
19
25

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
1 Raycroft
25
2.98
12-10-3
.898
30 Aubin
10
3.44
2-2-2
.882

Tampa Bay
GP
G
A
PTS
26 St. Louis
31
18
23
41
4 Lecavalier
31
18
22
40
19 Richards
31
12
14
26

22 Boyle

31
5
17
22

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
30 Denis
19
3.14
6-9-2
.879
40 Holmqvist
15
3.06
8-6-0
.887

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 33 17 8 8 93 82 42
6 TOR 33 19 11 3 114 98 41
7 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
8 NYR 30 16 10 4 92 81 36
9 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
10 BOS 33 16 14 3 82 85 35
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
13 PHI 32 12 14 6 88 96 30
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 33 13 18 2 63 105 28
16 CAR 32 9 19 4 68 91 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 32 6 14 -12 20
E. Staal 27 7 11 -10 18
J. Skinner 28 8 8 -3 16
R. Nash 32 4 12 -3 16
E. Lindholm 32 8 7 -7 15
J. Tlusty 28 10 3 -11 13
N. Gerbe 28 3 10 -2 13
A. Sekera 30 1 11 -7 12
C. Terry 23 6 3 -1 9
V. Rask 32 4 5 -7 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 9 12 2 .911 2.44
A. Khudobin 0 7 2 .892 3.11