Tonight, the Hurricanes will take on the Senators in Ottawa. This will be the fourth and final regular season matchup for the two teams. In October, the Canes defeated Ottawa at home at the front end of a nine game winning streak. In November, there were two matchups, with each team losing in their own barn. Buffalo, who is idle tonight and trails Ottawa by two points in the Northeast Division, will be rooting hard for the Canes. Tampa Bay, who is hosting Les Habitants tonight, will have one eye on this game and one on their own.
Both the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson line and the Cole-Staal-Stillman line have been en fuego of late. Spezza is listed as day-to-day with a pulled chest muscle but they will find an ample replacement to center the "big" line. Carolina won't be sad if he can't lace them up tonight. He was a factor in all three games, totaling two goals and two assists. He scored the game winner the last time the two teams met.
Carolina has no new injuries. The Czech Condor and Andrew Ladd are both out with knee injuries, as they have been for some time. Nik "Secret Weapon" Wallin is expected to make his return to Carolina's blue line tonight. The bad thing about that is that Andrew Hutchinson may be scratched. In fact, he may be scratched several games in a row if Wallin is back. He just needs one more point!
The keys for Carolina will be to prevent Alfredsson from getting on the score sheet, to find a way to be effective on special teams, and to get some production from places other than our big line. Kevyn Adams? Rod Brind'Amour? Maybe even from our defensemen. Aaron Ward? A-Hutch? The PK has been fine, but the PP has been hot and cold. This is no time for a cold streak.
This is a potential preview of an Eastern Conference Finals matchup. It should be a dandy. Puck drop is at 7:30. Fire up your DVRs!
4 years ago