The Hurricanes are in Newark New Jersey as they prepare to battle the New Jersey Devils this evening at the Prudential Center. Puck drops at 7:30. The Canes have a record of 4-4-2 and the Devils 5-4-1. They are tied in points in the Eastern Conference with thirteen and each is next to last in their division.
The last meeting of these two teams was, October 10th, a weekday matinee in which the Devils beat the Canes 4-2. Two of those goals were potted by the ever-present scoring threat Zach Parise, winger and Devils’ captain. He is the second top goal scorer on the team. Ilya Kovalchuk, another big factor in that game, is injured and not expected to play. This could be a boon for the Canes as Kovalchuk is second in points only behind Patrick Elias, a real threat, leading in goals with six, five helpers and eleven points.
The Devils are filling an injury slot with hot rookie Adam Henrique, a center called up from the Albany Devils to fill in for Jacob Josefson who has a fractured clavicle. Henrique scored his first NHL goal on Thursday. The Canes have given that experience to two rookies this season and I am glad this kid already has that one out of the way. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes he has three goals and two assists in his last three contests. While I love to see a kid succeed on a call up, I would rather him prove himself against another team. He has seen ice time with Parise and Kovalchuk slotted on the first line for part of his last game.
The Canes will be featuring some call-ups of their own as Zac Dalpe returns. Dalpe has not played with the Canes since October 14th when he sustained a lower body injury against Buffalo. He was recently sent down to the Checkers where he played two games but is back in the show tonight. Zach Boyhuk is still up with the big club therefore Drayson Bowman was reassigned to Charlotte. Can Boychuk use his chance like Henrique did? Will Dalpe be back in game-ready shape? I hope so. As one to watch this season, I am anxious to see what his game can bring. Welcome back Zac!
In the teams’ last meeting, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Chad LaRose were the only goal scorers. Rosey has matched Tuomo Ruutu with four this season and amazingly enough is second in goals behind Jeff Skinner. He also has five helpers and is tied with Jussi Jokinen with nine points. This leads to the elephant, or the 6’4” center from Thunder Bay, Ontario, in the room, captain Eric Staal. His struggles this season are the worst kept secret in the NHL. It’s going to take a while for Staal to dig his way out a -16, a league lead in the negative direction. It can’t be done in one night, but let’s get those numbers headed in a positive direction.
Who will play on the defense? After the punishing loss to Philadelphia, the coach put the entire defense “on notice.” Apparently that meant everyone but Tomas Kaberle. In the Dallas contest the coach sat Jamie McBain, who had a bad outing against the Capitals last Friday. Derek Joslin came back into the lineup against Dallas and finished with an assist. What does this mean? It means McBain gets the nod tonight and Joslin sits, not Kaberle, something I don’t understand.
The Canes last faced Johan Hedberg in goal. This time the Canes face the more mature Martin Brodeur. Cam Ward will be between the pipes for the Hurricanes, hopefully recovered from being pulled in the Dallas game.
Other noted injuries in the matchup include Jussi Jokinen who is still out with a lower body injury. He has been skating with the team and may return Friday. His absence is greatly felt by the “Skinns and Finns” line, and the team as a whole. New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene will be a game-time decision as he is nursing a lower-body injury.
Looks like these are the lines for the game:
Jeff Skinner / Eric Staal / Chad LaRose
Alexei Ponikarovsky / Tuomo Ruutu / Zach Boychuk
Jiri Tlusty / Brandon Sutter / Patrick Dwyer
Zac Dalpe / Tim Brent / Anthony Stewart
Bryan Allen / Tim Gleason
Joni Pitkanen /Jay Harrison
Tomas Kaberle / Derek Joslin
Keys to the game:
Lord if I know. If I had this answer I would have a million dollars. And if I had a million dollars I would buy me a winger. Haven’t you always wanted a winger? We are currently consistent in being inconsistent. Battling tough until the final second one night, giving up halfway through the game the next. The team needs to come out with the intestinal fortitude to get them through the match. There were closed-door meetings yesterday before the trip and an on ice practice. I am hoping that’s a sign that someone is attempting to turn things around before this becomes a losing streak.
The game will be broadcast on VERSUS(HD)…yes that means National television. Let’s show the viewing public what we are made of. Let’s Go Canes!
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Topics: Albany Devils, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andy Greene, Cam Ward, Chad LaRose, Charlotte Checkers, Derek Joslin, Drayson Bowman, Eric Staal, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Plus/minus, Tomas Kaberle, Tuomo Ruutu, Zac Dalpe, Zac Parise, Zach Boychuk