The Carolina Hurricanes (8-11-4) welcome the Winnipeg Jets (8-9-4) to the RBC Center today in a post-Thanksgiving matchup. It’s the second meeting of the season between the two current divison rivals — the Hurricanes lost in their first trip to Winnipeg 5-3 after a second period letdown on October 22nd. Both the Jets and the Hurricanes are trending upwards after having difficult starts to their season. The Jets are 3-0-1 in their last 4, and the Hurricanes are 2-0-1 in their last 3, with the only shootout loss coming to Montreal on Wednesday night. Expect the Jets to be without several key players tonight, as their blue-line has been marred by injuries. Tobias Enstrom, Derek Meech, Randy Jones and Bret Festerling are all out with various injuries. The picture on the Hurricanes’ blue line isn’t much prettier. Joni Pitkanen has been out 7 straight games with a mixture of a lower body injury and illness, and Jay Harrison will be out tonight with a upper body injury. Hurricanes’ head coach Paul Maurice said earlier today that Harrison is listed as day-to-day and Pitkanen could travel with the team to Ottawa and play the Senators on Sunday.
It will be Cam Ward versus Chris Mason in net tonight, which it wasn’t the first go around up in Winnipeg. Brian Boucher started for the Canes, allowing 5 goals on 24 shots. Chris Mason came in relief of Ondrej Pavelec and stopped the final 18 of 19 Carolina shots in the final 52 minutes. Jets’ center Kyle Wellwood has been a happy surprise for the team this year, as he currently is the scoring leader with 17 points (7G, 10A) in 21 games. He had 13 points in 35 games last year for the San Jose Sharks. To read up more on the Jets, check out Hockey at the Forks.
Expect the Hurricanes’ forward lines to stay the same from Wednesday night:
Skinner – Staal – Ruutu
LaRose – Jonkinen – Ponikarovsky
Tlusty – Brandon Sutter – Dwyer
Stewart – Brent – Brett Sutter
There will be some defensive line-shifting, as Joslin comes in and Harrison goes out. The pairing of Tomas Kaberle and Jamie McBain hasn’t been successful all season, so the coaching staff might mix that up a little bit.
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