Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview

The Associated Press

The Toronto Maple Leafs have often been fortunate when games have gone longer than 60 minutes, though their coach would like to see more consistent play during regulation.

The Carolina Hurricanes are struggling to find any type of victory - especially in overtime.

Toronto will try to put together a more complete effort Sunday night when it hosts Carolina.

Both clubs have shown a propensity for playing extra hockey. The Maple Leafs (19-16-5) have played 13 games past regulation, going 8-5, while the Hurricanes (14-15-9) are 2-9 in such contests.

Toronto has played in a franchise-record four consecutive shootouts - not necessarily to the liking of coach Randy Carlyle - coming away with a split record.

"Do we like shootouts? No," Carlyle told the team's official website.

But Carlyle liked Friday's result, a 4-3 home victory over Buffalo. Jonathan Bernier stopped all three of the Sabres' shootout tries while Joffrey Lupul beat Ryan Miller, helping Toronto improve to 6-4 in shootouts.

However, the Maple Leafs - who trailed 2-0 after the first 20 minutes - squandered a late lead. Steve Ott scored with 25 seconds remaining in regulation as Toronto failed to stave off a late disadvantage.

"The stress level goes up in games like this," Carlyle said. "We don't dwell on the negative (although) we'll touch base with it. But the positive is we found a way to regroup and get ourselves back on track."

The Maple Leafs have won just once in regulation over their last 19 games, going 6-9-4.

"We have to play 60 minutes like we played the last two periods, as closer to it as we possibly can. It's not easy winning in the NHL," Carlyle said.

Toronto will be trying to end a rough stretch versus Carolina, having lost five of six meetings. The Maple Leafs squandered a two-goal, third-period lead in a 3-2 home defeat on Oct. 17 - their eighth loss in the last 11 meetings in Toronto.

The Hurricanes have had a particularly rough stretch, one loss away from tying their longest skid of the season. They've lost four straight and seven of eight - four of which have come in overtime.

Carolina suffered a 4-3 home defeat in overtime to Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh on Friday. James Neal scored the winner at the 1:03 mark and former Hurricane Jussi Jokinen assisted on the goal for his third of the night.

It was the second straight game in which the Hurricanes squandered a third-period lead. They held a 2-1 edge entering the final 20 minutes - four days after squandering a 3-2 third-period advantage in a 4-3 loss to Columbus.

Carolina, which has lost four of five on the road, has been outscored 40-27 in the third period this season.

"It's during those first 60 minutes, we had some opportunities to capitalize, and when you don't, you're going to be in tight games and you've got to know how to play with the lead then," coach Kirk Muller said. "It's a very thin line of winning and losing. When you give up a couple of chances and they score, that's the difference."

Eric Staal has five goals and five assists over his last eight games versus Toronto.