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Hurricanes try to extend win streak vs. Leafs

(SportsNetwork.com) - Nasty winter weather in Buffalo prevented the Carolina Hurricanes from matching their longest winning streak in nearly four years. The 'Canes hope to make it five wins in a row on Thursday, when they're back home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs at PNC Arena.

A blizzard in Buffalo led to the postponement of Tuesday's scheduled game against the Sabres, and so far no make-up date has been announced. Despite the bad weather, the Hurricanes were able to fly back to Raleigh on Wednesday and hope to earn a third straight win on home ice.

The Hurricanes won their fourth game in a row on Sunday, notching a 2-1 regulation win over the visiting Nashville Predators. The winning streak is the club's longest of the season, but Carolina hasn't won five straight tilts since a seven-game winning streak from Feb. 5-March 4, 2010.

Each of Carolina's wins during its current hot streak have come by one-goal margins, including Sunday's close decision against the Predators. Jeff Skinner once again played a major role in the outcome, as he scored the game-winner with 3:31 remaining in the third period to lift the Hurricanes to victory.

Skinner, who assisted on Carolina's other goal on Sunday, recently was named the NHL's First Star for the week ending Jan. 5. He led all NHLers during that time period with six goals and nine points over four games. Skinner has 20 goals and 33 points in 32 games this season.

Alexander Semin had a goal and an assist on Sunday, while Tuomo Ruutu chipped in with a pair of helpers. Anton Khudobin made 31 saves in the win to earn the victory and improved Carolina's home record this season to 9-8-5.

Captain Eric Staal missed Sunday's test due to a lower-body injury and is expected to sit out on Thursday as well. No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward is also dealing with a lower-body issue and he is expected to be out of the lineup for a fourth straight contest.

The Hurricanes will have forward Elias Lindholm back, however, as the 19-year- old rookie returns after being allowed to represent Team Sweden at the recent World Junior Championships. Lindholm, the fifth overall pick of last summer's NHL Entry Draft, had nine points on two goals and seven assists in six games during the tournament in Malmo, Sweden and helped his country win a silver medal.

Lindholm has three goals and four assists in 21 games this season.

Toronto, meanwhile, will try to halt a two-game slide when it takes the ice tonight. The Maple Leafs' last win -- it's third in a row -- came against Detroit in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, but Randy Carlyle's team has been outscored by a combined 12-4 margin in consecutive losses since its triumph in Ann Arbor.

After getting embarrassed in a 7-1 home loss Saturday against the New York Rangers, the Maple Leafs suffered a 5-3 defeat Tuesday against the visiting New York Islanders. Toronto was tied with the Islanders at 2-2 after 40 minutes, but Frans Nielsen, Calvin de Haan and Cal Clutterbuck registered third-period scores to lead the visitors to a win at Air Canada Centre.

Tyler Bozak, Mason Raymond and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Maple Leafs, while Jonathan Bernier allowed four goals on 24 shots in defeat.

"We did some good things, but it seemed like we were climbing a mountain," Carlyle said. "Every time we got things back to even, we couldn't push it over the mountain. I thought we played passive; we were afraid to make a mistake."

Carlyle hopes to get his troops in order during a brief two-game road trip that also features a game tomorrow evening against the Washington Capitals. However, Toronto has done most of his damage on home ice this season, going 14-10-1 at Air Canada Centre and 7-8-4 everywhere else.

The Leafs and 'Canes have split a pair of meetings so far in 2013-14, but Thursday's season-series finale is the first encounter in Raleigh. Carolina has claimed five of seven overall in this matchup and Toronto has lost three in a row and five of its past six games at PNC Arena.

Tonight's game marks the first meeting since the clubs were involved in a trade last week. Carolina acquired defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Leafs in exchange for defenseman Tim Gleason.

Liles has no points in three games with the Carolina, while Gleason failed to reach the scoresheet in his debut with Toronto on Tuesday.

01/09 11:03:50 ET

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Schedule

Wednesday, April 16Full Scoreboard
Montreal 4/16 7:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay CNBC, CBC, RDS, SunSports
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Columbus 4/16 7:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, FS-OH, ROOT
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Dallas 4/16 10:00 PM ET
Anaheim NBCSN, TSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
Final
CIN 4
PIT 0
Final
BAL 3
TAM 0
Final
NYY 3
CHC 0
Final
MIL 5
STL 1
 
3rd
ARI 0
NYM 1
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
CHC
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CLE
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
8:10pm Tonight
MIN 0
TOR 0
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR