Carolina Hurricanes: Three keys to beating Maple Leafs

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 25: Dave Ayres sounds the warning siren during the game between the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes at at PNC Arena on February 25, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ayres, in emergency relief, recorded eight saves, the win and first-star honors in his National Hockey League debut with the Carolina Hurricanes in their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 22. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 25: Dave Ayres sounds the warning siren during the game between the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes at at PNC Arena on February 25, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ayres, in emergency relief, recorded eight saves, the win and first-star honors in his National Hockey League debut with the Carolina Hurricanes in their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 22. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 25: Dave Ayres sounds the warning siren during the game between the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on February 25, 2020, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ayres, in emergency relief, recorded eight saves, the win, and first-star honors in his National Hockey League debut with the Carolina Hurricanes in their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 22. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 25: Dave Ayres sounds the warning siren during the game between the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on February 25, 2020, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ayres, in emergency relief, recorded eight saves, the win, and first-star honors in his National Hockey League debut with the Carolina Hurricanes in their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 22. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

After starting 4-0-0, the Carolina Hurricanes host the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time since the David Ayres game, Why is it the first time since the Ayres game? Well, about a week after that game, the world shut down! Isn’t that fun? But I don’t think it’s possible to talk about Carolina and Toronto without mentioning Ayres at least once.

Toronto has had quite a slow start to the season coming into this game with a 2-3-1 record. Coming off an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins dressed as the Pittsburgh Penguins, it’s a good time to be playing a team that might be down in the dumps mentally. We all know that’s their biggest problem right now.

We have all seen All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs and we all got an inside look at this organization. We know that this opponent is inside its own head right now trying to shoulder all the pressure it is under at this point in time. Knowing that they have a lot to work on, some of the top players are not playing as well as advertised, and that defense has regressed to the stone age.

If the Carolina Hurricanes want to continue to be an unbeaten team in the NHL, as only 4 remain (one from each division, poetically enough) they will need to triumph tonight and that is not a given against a team loaded with talent like the Maple Leafs. With a netminder expected to play against his old team, let’s dive into how Carolina can win tonight.