Tonight's The Most Important Road Game of The Trip, Hurricanes vs. Ottawa Preview

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 25: Chad LaRose #59 of the Carolina Hurricanes moves the puck against the Ottawa Senators at the RBC Center on March 25, 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Carolina won 2-1. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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Tonight the Hurricanes see their first action since returning from Helsinki.  It’s great that the Hurricanes are 2-0 by beating the  Wild, who look to be in shambles again this season.  Now the Hurricanes must deal with the Helsinki Hangover and play their first true road game tonight in Ottawa, a team that packs more of an offensive punch than Minnesota.  The Hurricanes are also dealing with the time change factor as they are switching time zones by seven hours.  That is why tonight’s game in my mind is the most important of the road trip.  After tonight the Hurricanes head west to play Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.  This means even more of a time change for the Hurricanes, not to mention all four of those teams were playoff teams last year.  Tonight the Hurricanes need to get off on a good foot in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Senators are coming off a season in which they lost in the first round to the Ottawa Senators in the first round in a very close series.  The Senators started off this season with great promise, but the team has started out 0-3 and has only collected one of a possible six points with losses to Buffalo, Toronto, and Washington (in overtime).  The Senators have not been getting the scoring punch they expected with Spezza, Alfredson, Fisher, and Foligno.  “No one wants to be losing that many games in a row and I think it’s been overanalyzed to a point,” forward Nick Foligno said. “We’re not worried in this locker room, we’re not panicking. We know we’re a good hockey team and we showed that against Washington.”  We should see a lot of fight from a team that should finish near the top of the standings.

The Carolina Hurricanes come into the game tonight looking for their 3rd straight win to open the 2010-2011 season.  As already stated their biggest adversitey will be the time change and jet lag of returning from Finland.  However, the Hurricanes showed toughness and grit in Finland that lead to two wins and a great start to the season.  Tonight the Hurricanes will have to weather the storm early.  The Hurricanes will face an angry 0-3 Senators team.  If the Hurricanes can survive early they have a shot to win.  Cam Ward will have to be sharp especially early, pretty much the solution if the Hurricanes are to compete this season.  Jeff Skinner will also need to continue his steps forward.  Skinner is coming off a game where he assisted on the only goal in regulation and the scored the shootout winner.  “This was my second game, and a great way to finish that off,” the 18-year-old Skinner said. “First, I was looking to shoot, but the puck was rolling on me and I tried to settle it down. It sort of opened up for me then.”  The final note I think its important for his confidence that Eric Staal gets on the score sheet tonight as he played hard in Finland but had nothing to show for it.  Tonight is big game to keep the Hurricanes heading in the right direction.


CAR  Sergei Samsonov  Neck (Game-Time Decision)

OTT  Filip Kuba  Leg (Out)

OTT  Daniel Alfredsson  Lower-Body (Probable)

Prediction:  CAR 3 OTT 2

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