With Atlanta regaining the 8th seed after beating the New York Rangers, the Carolina Hurricanes want a win like Carmelo Anthony wants a Knicks jersey. Tonight’s game at St. Pete Times Forum will be a Southeast standoff between the #1 Tampa Bay Lightning and #4 Canes.
Atlanta’s win over the Rangers adds to the already heavy burden upon Cane shoulders. However, Tampa Bay has their fair share of difficulties going into tonight’s matchup. Ryan Malone, Nate Thompson and Mike Lundin are out with injuries.
While Carolina welcomes back Defenseman Joni Pitkanen after a missed game on Thursday. Jeff Skinner continues to be a formidable player with 2 goals and 3 points in the last three games. Skinner also continues to lead the rookies with 43 points.
As Brett Carson headed back to Charlotte, Brett Sutter was called up on an emergency basis. He will debut with the Canes wearing #42 and replace injured Ryan Carter. Brett Sutter is cousin of third line center Brandon Sutter. He is also the nephew of Flames coach Brent Sutter. Apparently the Sutter’s love the initials B.S.
Speaking of B.S….Power-plays were the catalyst in the Canes’ uprising in January, but they were 0-for-5 in Thursday’s game against the Flyers. No doubt Jokinen’s four game absence continues to impact the extra-man stats.
Carolina is managing both short and long term goals.
General Manager Jim Rutherford said, ““We have two goals. One is to make the playoffs and the other is to build this team going forward. Regardless of what we do and how it looks, we’re not going to give up on this year.”