The Hurricanes (9-18-5) have not played in the RBC Center since the Saturday Dec 3rd contest against the Penguins, and have returned home with a single win after a four-game Canadian road trip to face the Canucks (18-10-2). The team unfortunately came back with more than a pocket full of loonies. They came back a group of wounded warriors. Stalwart defenseman Joni Pitkanen is suffering from a concussion as is our top scorer and Raleigh’s version of Sidney Crosby, Jeff Skinner. Brian Boucher was also injured during the roadie during a practice and still sits on injured reserved. Yesterday the Hurricanes called up goaltender Justin Peters, who thankfully cleared waivers, from Charlotte and Mike Murphy was sent back down. In addition to these personnel switches, Jay Harrison remains out due to injury but has been practicing with the team this week.
Despite the 2-1 final score against Toronto earlier this week, the Canes played a well-executed game and Cam Ward looked a whole lot more like the Cam Ward we know. Shots on goal were truly lopsided but the passing and power plays were much better and Chad LaRose, Brandon Sutter and Alexei Ponikarovsky played like absolute beasts. Caniacs are hoping to see that same fire tonight against Vancouver. I will be keeping my eyes on Brandon Sutter to see if he has any lingering effects from his injuries the other night. He was seen twice limping to the bench. Coach Muller has been doing some line shuffling, but the depth chart and prospective lines remain the same. Look for Cam Ward in net with Justin Peters at the ready.
Tlusty / Staal / Dwyer
Ruutu / Jokinen / Ponikarovsky
LaRose / Sutter / Bowman
Stewart / Brent / Nodl
Gleason / McBain
Faulk / Spacek
Allen / Joslin
The Canucks are coming in to Raleigh on the heels of a 2-1 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. No that wasn’t a typo. I expect them to be fired up and ready to play. They sit fifth in the Western Conference a point behind the Red Wings and they are second in the division behind the white-hot Minnesota Wild. Cory Schneider (7-4-0) will be between the pipes.
It’s no surprise that the Canucks are led in points by those pesky Sedin twins. Daniel has thirty-four points, twelve goals and twenty-two helpers. Henrik has only eight goals but an impressive twenty-five helpers. They are followed by the guy you are only allowed to like during the Olympics, Ryan Kesler, with twenty-one points, seven goals and fourteen helpers.
Here are the Canucks lines according their official website.
D. Sedin / H. Sedin / Burrows
Higgins / Kesler / Hansen
Raymond / Hodgson / Lapierre
Rome / Malhotra / Weise
Hamhuis / Bieksa
Edler / Salo
Ballard / Alberts
Key to the game; shoot the puck in the net. I know, I know. But it’s something we need to do! Assistant coach MacClean was reportedly in practice reminding the guys that you have to shoot, not pass the puck into the net.
While some of the regulars will not be on the ice, I encourage you to come out and be loud and proud Caniacs tonight. A supportive crowd can do nothing but HELP our struggling fellas. Let’s Go Canes!
UPDATED 5:23: According to @VanCanucks: Mark Mancari is en route to the arena and is scheduled to play. He’ll wear #18. (He is filling in for Daniel Sedin)
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Topics: Brian Boucher, Cam Ward, Caniacs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Cory Schneider, Daniel Sedin, Detroit Red Wings, Henrik Sedin, Jay Harrison, Jeff Skinner, John MacLean, Joni Pitkanen, Justin Peters, Kirk Muller, Mike Murphy, Minnesota Wild, Ryan Kesler, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks