The Winnipeg Jets and Carolina Hurricanes meet for the final time this evening at the PNC Arena. Carolina also begins their final back-to-back of the season, with the team taking on the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night. Winnipeg won the first three games in the series (by a 12-6 margin), but the Canes were able to take the last two games, including a 4-3 victory up in Winnipeg less than two weeks ago. Eric Staal had 3 points (2G, 1A) that night after Winnipeg Jets fans hounded Staal by booing him and chanting “Jordan’s better.” With a victory tonight, the Canes could pass the Jets to head into 10th place in the eastern conference standings. However, with a Jets victory in regulation, or with a Buffalo Sabres victory, the Canes will officially be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
This also is the beginning of Fan Appreciation Week for the Canes. Head on over to the Canes site to see some of the great promotions and giveaway that the team is doing over the final three home games.
Winnipeg has fallen quite a bit recently, losing 5 out of their last 6 games, beginning with the loss to the Hurricanes on March 18th. It is believed that they need to win out to even have a sniff at the playoffs. The final nail in the team’s playoff coffin may have came Wednesday night as they lost a tough game against the New York Rangers. The Jets are led by winger Blake Wheeler, who has 61 points in 75 games this season. Nik Antropov and Eric Fehr (lower and upper body injuries, respectively) are day-to-day and are not expected to play tonight. Chris Thornburn made the trip and could play tonight for the first time since March 9th. To read up more on the opponent for this evening’s game, head on over to Hockey At The Forks.
The Canes are 6-4-0 in their last ten games, compared to the Jets’ record of 3-7-0. This includes a 3-0 shutout of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, which was Cam Ward’s 21st career shutout. He surpassed Arturs Irbe for first place on the franchise shutout record. Tuomo Ruutu had a big game against the Maple Leafs, after his playing time was decreased in the previous two games. Tonight’s game marks the 300th game Ruutu has played with the Hurricanes. Tonight might also be a special night for Eric Staal, who is one goal away from 250 in his career.
Expect the following lines for the Canes tonight:
Tlusty – Staal – LaRose
Skinner – Jokinen – Ruutu
Bowman – Sutter – Dwyer
Joslin – Brent – Stewart
Gleason – Allen
Harrison – Faulk
Pitkanen – McBain
Make sure to check back in tomorrow for a game recap and a preview against the New Jersey Devils! Head on out to PNC Arena tonight to get a Jamie McBain bobble head (for the first 10,000 fans in attendance), and enjoy the front lawn party as well. Until then, check us out on Facebook at CardiacCane. Also, be sure to follow Cardiac Cane writers at: @CardiacCaneFS, @Esbee92, @peacelovepuck, @caniaccaz and @caniac176