Leafs in offensive funk
In danger losing more ground in the playoff chase after a disastrous four-game road trip where they were outscored 12-1 in a quartet of losses, the Maple Leafs (22-21-3) return to the Air Canada Centre to host the Carolina Hurricanes (15-25-5).
Although the Leafs have lost 12 of their last 15 games, they may find solace in playing on home ice where they've been decidedly better, posting a 10-3-0 record.
The Leafs will be without forward Leo Komarov (arm) and veteran defenceman Stephane Robidas (upper body) against the Hurricanes.
Komarov, who skated with teammates at the morning skate on Monday, hasn't been cleared by doctors to play. Robidas likely won't play in either of the next two games. Joffrey Lupul (lower body) and Peter Holland (upper body) also remain out.
Under new coach Peter Horachek the Leafs have dramatically cut down the shots allowed by the opposition, but their offence has gone dry. Phil Kessel, tied with James van Riemsdyk for the team goal-scoring lead with 19 each, has but two goals in his last 15 starts.
Dealing with so little offensive support, it's only a matter of time before the opponents break through, leaving goaltenders Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer little room to make any mistakes
Sitting 10 games below .500, Carolina wouldn't normally be considered a potent threat, but its played much better of late with 11 points in 10 games. The Hurricanes have done well against the Leafs. They snapped a Toronto winning streak in December with a 4-1 mauling, and they've also won seven of nine against the Leafs. Hurricanes' goalie Cam Ward has been effective against Toronto with a 6-1-1 record in his last eight starts.
Goaltending battle in Florida
Longtime Vancouver goaltending stalwart Roberto Luongo meets the man who succeeded him with the Canucks as the Panthers (20-13-10) entertain the Canucks (25-15-3) and Ryan Miller at the BB & T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
Luongo returned to Vancouver for the first time as a Panther in January and was brilliant in a 3-1 Florida victory. He then defeated Edmonton, 4-2, but since then the Panthers have lost three straight, including a 3-2 shootout loss to Edmonton on Saturday.
Meanwhile the Canucks are on a nice 2-0-0 road trip with Miller posting back-to-back shutouts over Philadelphia and Carolina.
Miller is bidding to become the first Canuck goalie to have three consecutive shutouts since, you guessed it, Roberto Luongo in 2008.
Flames try to extend road run
The Calgary Flames (24-18-3) are also on a strong road trip, with three consecutive wins, as they stop in Los Angeles to meet the Kings (20-14-11).
The Flames nearly blew a lead Saturday in San Jose but picked up two points thanks to Sean Monahan's overtime 4-3 winner.
The Flames and Kings are virtually deadlocked for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference (both have 45 points) with Calgary enjoying a slight advantage on the strength of more wins in regulation. The Flames have won their last three meetings with the Kings including a 4-3 triumph Dec. 22 when Calgary rookie Johnny Gaudreau scored his first NHL hat trick.