It’s Tuesday and the Hurricanes are entertaining a bigger and possibly better Predators lineup than the last time the two clubs met. The teams last played back in January and the Preds defeated the Canes 5-2. Tonight’s rematch will be in the RBC Center with some new faces on the Predators’ roster including Hal Gill, recently acquired from the Montreal Canadiens, Paul Gaustad who was picked up yesterday from everyone’s favorite team, the Buffalo Sabres, and Andrei Kostitsyn, another former Hab who will be playing alongside his brother Sergei, already with the Predators. What do David Poile’s recent acquisitions mean for the Canes? The Predators are serious about a push for the cup and toughness and size are coming to town. Hal Gill comes in at a towering 6’7” and 241llbs and Gaustad is 6’5” and 212lbs. Considering half our team seems to be hurt, color me a bit concerned.
Injuries continue to decimate the Hurricanes lineup and the usual suspects Joni Pitkanen, Brian Boucher remain on Injured Reserve. Tuomo Ruutu is still out and Chad LaRose is not yet ready to return from his latest injury. Now they are joined in the hospital ward by Patrick Dwyer who incurred a lower body injury in last weekend’s tilt with the Panthers.
To help plug the leaks in the lineup, Zach Boychuk got the call up yesterday from Charlotte. This is the first call up for the young forward since the arrival of Coach Kirk Muller so hopefully he will be pulling out all stops to show the coach what he’s got. He will be slotted with Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen. I am sure Zach is relieved he was getting a call up and not being traded when the organization rang him up during the 3 o’clock hour yesterday. Nice timing Canes.
The lines for tonight look similar to the last few contests with some shifting to cover for Dwyer and slot in Boychuk.
Tlusty – Staal – Samson
Boychuk – Skinner – Jokinen
Bowman – Sutter – Nodl
Stewart – Brent – Joslin
No changes in the defensemen as all Hurricanes’ bodies stayed in Raleigh after the trade deadline:
Gleason – Allen
Harrison – Faulk
Spacek – McBain
Eric Staal is still riding that eight game points streak and Caniacs hope he continues tonight. The Predators will be using everything in their power to stop him including the deadly defensive duo of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Anders Lindback, the taller of the Predators giant goalie tandem at 6’6”, will be between the pipes as the diminutive 6’5” Pekka Rinne gets a breather.
Although they are not a conference opponent, every point counts. The Predators are sitting in fifth place in the West and are taking no prisoners as they continue their march to the playoffs with 81 points. Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist lead the team in goals with 18 apiece. Let’s keep them from adding to their collection.
Keys to the game:
- For the love of all that’s holy, PLEASE don’t let anyone else get hurt.
- The Predators are big and hungry. Do not feed the Predators. This includes staying out of the box on avoidable penalties.
Predlines is your FanSided site for all things Smashville. Puck drops at 7pm and the game is on Fox Sports South and 99.9 the Fan. Let’s Go Canes!
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Tags: Anders Lindback Andrei Kostitsyn Brian Boucher Cam Ward David Poile Eric Staal Hal Gill Jeff Skinner Joni Pitkanen Jussi Jokinen Justin Peters Mike Fisher Nashville Predators Patric Hornqvist Patrick Dwyer Paul Gaustad Pekka Rinne Ryan Suter Sergei Kostitsyn Shea Weber Tuomo Ruutu Zach Boychuk