Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview

Hurricanes-Maple Leafs Preview

The Carolina Hurricanes are generating plenty of shots. They're just not capitalizing on their opportunities as often as they'd like and have been unable to gain much traction in the season's early going as a result.

They get a chance to reverse that trend Monday night against the Maple Leafs at Toronto, where they've had success while dominating the series of late.

Carolina has won six of eight in Toronto and eight of 11 overall in the series, averaging 4.4 goals in those victories. Carolina (3-4-0), though, has lost two of three and gave up five goals for the third time this season in a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday, the first stop on a season-long six-game road trip.

The Hurricanes recorded 42 shots for the third time but only found the back of the net on three. They're averaging 38.1 shots on goal - the most in the NHL - but have scored 18 times on 267 total shots for a 6.7 percentage that ranks last.

Carolina's power play has been ineffective, scoring on 1 of 6 chances against the Flyers and only 4 of 36 opportunities (11.1 percent) on the season.

"Our power play just wasn't good enough, I think," Eric Staal told NHL.com. "We need to execute a little bit better. There were some plays we could have had but we just didn't make it happen."

Staal and Jeff Skinner have provided most of Carolina's scoring, accounting for 11 of the team's 18 goals. Free-agent signing Alexander Semin has just one goal on 31 shots.

The Maple Leafs are 4-4-0 and are 1-3-0 at home - their worst start on home ice since dropping their first six home contests in 2009-10.

They strung together their first consecutive wins overall before suffering a 1-0 home loss to Boston on Saturday. Toronto victimized itself with sloppy play around the Bruins' blue line, often giving up the puck while only mounting 21 shots.

The Leafs are averaging 2.0 goals at home compared to 3.3 in road games.

"That's the way they play, and they're a good team," coach Randy Carlyle said. "They did what they had to do to be effective to play a road game and we didn't do enough of the things that we're capable of to establish a strong home game in the 60 minutes."

Starring in the loss was goaltender James Reimer, who stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced. Reimer is off to a solid start, posting a .922 save percentage while starting Toronto's last four games. Ben Scrivens' save percentage is .881.

Reimer has been solid in four starts against Carolina, going 3-0-1 with a shutout and a 1.48 goals-against average.

"James Reimer gave us a chance," Carlyle said. "That's all you can ask of your goaltender."

Despite taking 36 shots in eight games, Phil Kessel is still scoreless and seeking his 100th goal with Toronto. He had nine goals in his first eight games last year before finishing with a team-best 37.

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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

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Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young to enter NBA Draft

After a sensational freshman season at the University of Oklahoma, point guard Trae Young plans to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, according to a report by ESPN.

Young will be one of the most fascinating prospects in this class given the extreme highs and lows of his one college season. He vaulted into the top 10 in most mock drafts after beginning his freshman year on fire, but then began to slip over the final months as his shooting percentage dropped.


Right now the Wizards are lined up to be in the late teens, so it's unlikely he falls to their range. But at this point it's difficult to predict where he will go, whether that is top five or later in the lottery.

It really could go either way. Some teams may see him as a Steph Curry-like scorer who can hit shots from unusually deep range. There were certainly times where Young backed up those comparisons.

Teams could see his flaws as a result of opposing defenses honing in on him because they could at the college level. In the NBA he may have more space and therefore be able to play to his strengths.


Or, teams could look at the fact he shot 36.1 percent from three on a whopping 10.2 attempts per game as a sign he is a chucker. He also led the nation in turnovers, commiting 24 more than the next guy. Young averaged 5.2 giveaways per game.

While Curry is the best-case scenario, Jimmer Fredette may be the worst-case. Fredette was the 10th overall pick in 2011 and now plays in China. 

Young will be an intriguing prospect in the draft because the ceiling is high and the basement is low. 

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Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

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