Hurricanes in Florida: Game Preview

Drayson Bowman (Phot Credit: Gregg Forwerck)

The Carolina Hurricanes traveled to Sunrise, Florida yesterday after defeating Vancouver 4-3 Thursday night. Drayson Bowman was recalled from Charlotte and filled Jeff Skinner’s skates well with two goals in the contest. Cam Ward got his groove back and stopped 33 shots. Spacek snagged his first goal of the season and Ruutu had a goal and an assist. Canes are looking for their first back-to-back win since November 21st.

The Panthers have gone 4-2-2 in the month of December and 17-9-6 for the season. Those statistics have placed them at the top of the Southeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Florida is also coming off a win, a 3-2 shootout victory over Calgary.

Last season the Canes won four of the six games with their division rivals. Although, fans know we are playing a different breed of Cats this year. Canes must be at their best for this quick team. Caniacs are still waiting to hear if Jay Harrison will return after missing ten games. If Harrison does not play, Justin Faulk will likely be paired with veteran Jaroslav Spacek. Jeff Skinner and Joni Pitkanen remain out indefinitely with concussions.

Young D-man, Justin Faulk. (Photo: Renee Kalicicki)

So what do Canes need to do to win? They need to play a good ‘ol fashion game of keep away. Defense, including a classic Cam Ward, will be key in preventing the FlashMob Line of Flash, Weiss and Versteeg from doing what they do best. The unit has been responsible for 45 percent of the Panthers’ goals.

I was able to witness my first Canes practice under Coach Muller Saturday morning. The coaching change was obvious. It was a high energy, vocal run through. Kirk Muller is very active with his team on the ice, shouting directions and corrections. You could see the conscious effort to watch each player and offer feedback. I simply loved it.

A rival wouldn’t be a rival without some friendly FanSided wagering, so Cardiac Cane and The Rat Trick agreed upon the following bet:

Panthers Win: Cardiac Cane will write an article on how fantastic the team is in Florida.

Canes Win: Every Rat Trick writer (eight in total) must change their Twitter profile to a picture (provided by me) of Jeff Skinner for three days.

The puck drops in Florida at 5:00 p.m. and will only be available for those fans that have Center Ice. Of course, you can always tune into 99.9 FM to listen to the showdown. Be sure to check out the competition over at The Rat Trick, including my guest appearance of their podcast, Rat Trick Radio.

Let’s Go Canes!

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Tags: Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes Florida Panthers Jay Harrison Jeff Skinner Joni Pitkanen Justin Faulk Kirk Muller Tuomo Ruutu

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