In the fourth game of a nine (yes, nine) game road trip, the San Jose Sharks will visit the RBC Center (is it PNC Arena yet? No? Okay, just checking) tonight to take on the Hurricanes. The Sharks are coming off of an overtime loss last night to the Tampa Bay Lightning, which saw (now former) Lightning winger Dominic Moore get traded after the pre-game skate 9 (along with a 7th round pick) to San Jose for a 2012 second round pick. Expect Moore to be in the line-up against the Canes tonight. The Sharks, who have the 27th best penalty kill in the league, see Moore as a good penalty killer and hope that he will be able to improve those numbers. San Jose is on top of the pacific division in the western conference, four points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks are lead by their captain, Joe Thornton, who has 51 points (12G, 39A) in 55 games for the club, while last year’s Calder Trophy finalist, Logan Couture, is second on the team in scoring with 48 points (24G, 24A) in 55 games. It will be extremely important for the Hurricanes to stay out of the penalty box tonight, as the Sharks have the fourth-best power play in the league (21.2%), while the Canes boast the league’s third-worst penalty kill (77.8%).
The Canes are coming off of a three-game road trip where the team collected four out of a possible six points, including a come from behind victory against the Montreal Canadians on Monday night. Since then, the Canes have called up (after sending him down) Jerome Samson on an emergency basis for Tuomo Ruutu, who will be out of action for about three weeks with an upper body injury. Drayson Bowman was recalled after the Montreal game in place of Chad LaRose who is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Brian Boucher continues to be out with a lower body injury, but did start skating this week. Derek Joslin, who has been scratched for the last few games, will get a chance to play at wing on the fourth line against his former team. The Hurricanes decided against calling up another forward due to lack of depth in Charlotte.
Despite the Canes still being in last place in the conference, the team is playing some of the best hockey of the season, only having one regulation loss in their last 10 games (5-1-4), including collecting points in their last five games. Captain Eric Staal still leads the way in points (44 in 57 games), including a short-handed goal, empty net goal and an assist in Montreal on Monday night, but his line with Jiri Tlusty and Tuomo Ruutu has been clicking very well during the last few weeks. Jerome Samson will step into Ruutu’s slot for the game tonight because of Ruutu’s injury. Cam Ward has continued to be, well, Cam Ward, but is a game time decision tonight as head coach Kirk Muller wants to get Justin Peters a start with three games in four nights coming up. Expect the lines for the game to be as follows:
Tlusty – Staal – Samson
Bowman – Skinner – Jokinen
Nodl – Sutter – Dwyer
Stewart – Brent – Joslin
Gleason – Allen
Harrison – Faulk
Spacek – McBain
Make sure to check back later for our game recap and a game preview for tomorrow’s game against the New York Islanders! Until then, head over to our Facebook page at Cardiac Cane and give us a like!