NHL: Canes aim to stay strong without Andrei Svechnikov, visit Leafs

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The Carolina Hurricanes will try for their second consecutive victory after losing Andrei Svechnikov for the season when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night.

The Hurricanes announced Tuesday afternoon that the 22-year-old forward would require surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee and would be out for the season and playoffs.

That night, Carolina responded by ending a scoring drought with a 5-3 home victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The Hurricanes had been shut out in their two previous games.

Svechnikov was injured during the second period on Saturday in a 4-0 home loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. He returned for the third period, but he missed Sunday’s 3-0 road loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Svechnikov, who represented the Hurricanes at the All-Star Game this season, is third on the team in scoring with 55 points (23 goals, 32 assists) in 64 games.

“Obviously the news on ‘Svech’ was really tough,” said Brady Skjei, who scored a goal on Tuesday. “You don’t replace a guy like that. But everyone has to step up and do a little bit more, give a little extra.”

Jack Drury scored in his first game after being recalled from AHL affiliate Chicago.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi had two goals and an assist and Jaccob Slavin added a goal for Carolina.

“Out of our last three games, that’s probably the least scoring chances we’ve had in any of them,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It was probably our worst game, too. But that’s how it goes sometimes. Overall, I’ll take the two points.”

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, will be out to complete a three-game homestand with a victory after losing the first two dates.

The Colorado Avalanche won 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday against the Maple Leafs, who took only 18 shots on goal while allowing 29. That followed Monday’s 4-3 loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres.

“We’ve had no shortage of difficult matchups and difficult games here recently, (Wednesday was) another one, and there’s more coming here for us,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We’re at a stretch of the schedule where you’ve got to be real good. And Colorado’s definitely playing more like you would have expected them to get to in terms of their quality of play.”

William Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner failed to score for Toronto during the shootout. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon was the only scorer.

Ilya Samsonov was stellar in goal for Toronto, saving 28 of 29 shots.

“He made some great saves for us, kept us in the game,” Matthews said. “We gave up a breakaway, some odd-man rushes and he came up big. He did everything he had to do. Those games can go either way. But I think we would like to maybe generate a little bit more offense and a little more zone time and some more dangerous high-end chances than we did.”

Defenseman Morgan Rielly gave Toronto a first-period lead with his third goal of the season.

“That’s what we need to see from Morgan in terms of jumping into those holes,” Keefe said. “Be that guy off the puck who can be a threat for us offensively. And I thought that he played hard and defended well.”

–Field Level Media

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