After a heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday, the Canes traveled to Alberta to prepare to face the Calgary Flames to begin a four game Canadian road trip. The Flames are coming off of a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks and are struggling through their season with an 11-13-2 record overall. They are third to last in the Western Conference above the Ducks and Blue Jackets. The 8-16-4 Canes are not faring better, as they sit in last place in the Eastern Conference trailing the New York Islanders who have games at hand. That was painful to write.
Fans and the team alike are hoping this road trip will bring the first win for new head coach Kirk Muller. In what would normally seem to be an inconsequential game, I feel the team’s pride and morale are at stake.
Both clubs are facing similar challenges including in goal. Backup tender Brian Boucher was injured yesterday in practice and the Hurricanes have called up Michael Murphy from the Charlotte Checkers to back up Cam Ward. While I am not pleased about the injury, I am very excited for 22 year-old Murphy. It is his first NHL call up.
Murphy was not the only one to get the call as the Flames have brought up Leland Irving from their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat, to back up Miikka Kiprusoff. Kiprusoff replaced Henrik Karlsson during Saturday’s contest after Karlsson was injured in a collision with his own teammate and former Hurricane, Tom Kostopoulos. He has a torn MCL and is now on injured reserved. You got that Caniacs? There may be a quiz at the end of the preview.
The Hurricanes are expected to roll similar lines to what we have seen in the last couple of games. I will refrain from telling you I do still not like the “Finns and Skinns” being split up. (How did I do?). Tim Brent was a healthy scratch against Pittsburgh and we are not sure who will be anchoring the fourth line. I have not heard any announcement yet on the defensive pairings, although I expect Jay Harrison to sit again due to injury.
Calgary winger Curtis Glencross did not practice this morning since he was exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Brendan Morrison, a healthy scratch for the last five games, may get a chance to play in his slot. Expect to see Glencross or Morrison paired up with Olli Jokinen (no relation to Jussi) and Calgary captain Jarome Iginla on the first line. For complete information on the Flames projected lines check out the Flames official website.
The Flames are lead in points by Alex Tanguay with five goals and thirteen helpers, Olli Jokinen with seven goals, nine assists and Iginla who has seven goals and 8 assists. The Canes’ leaders in points are Jeff Skinner with eleven goals and twelve assists, Jussi Jokinen with four goals, one dozen assists and Chad LaRose with six goals and nine helpers.
Kirk Muller will be facing opposing bench boss Brent Sutter, also known as “Brandon’s dad.”
I am actually glad we have a road trip right now, and I hope the team can refocus and pick up a win in this only meeting for the year with Calgary. Puck drops at 9pm and you can find the game on Fox Sports Carolinas in the Triangle and on 99.9 the Fan. Let’s Go Canes!
For all things Flames head over to Flame for Thought on the FanSided Network.
Did you take notes for a quiz? The answers to the questions I never asked were “two but not related, two but one is injured and dad.” Remember to stop by Cardiac Cane on Facebook and you can follow our staff of writers on Twitter: @CardiacCaneFS, @Esbee92, @caniac176, and @peacelovepuck.
Tags: Abbotsford Heat Brandon Sutter Brendan Morrison Brent Sutter Brian Boucher Calgary Flames Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes Chad LaRose Curtis Glencross Henrik Karlsson Jarome Iginla Jay Harrison Kirk Muller Leland Irving Michael Murphy Mikka Kiprusoff Olli Jokinen Tim Brent Tom Kostopoulos