The Hurricanes did not hold a morning skate and no line changes have been announced. Here are the line combinations from the last tilt.
Tlusty – Staal – LaRose
Skinner – Jokinen – Ruutu
Bowman – Sutter – Dwyer
Joslin – Brent – Stewart
Gleason – Allen
Harrison – Faulk
Pitkanen – McBain
Cam Ward is expected to mind the net tonight for the warriors in white. Craig Anderson will be anchoring the other end for the Senators. The Canes will be missing the usual suspects of Jaroslav Spacek (lower body) and Andreas Nodl (upper body). Coach Kirk Muller has said we will probably not see Nodl the rest of the season, which is very unfortunate since he was just starting to find his groove before having an up close and personal encounter with Zach Bogosian of the Jets on March 18th. That made a vicious undisciplined charge sound much more polite didn’t it?
The Ottawa Citizen reported from the morning skate that the Sens will be sitting blueliner Sergei Gonchar who has a lower body injury. The team is being extra careful to make sure he will be healthy for the playoffs. Captains Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza both missed Sunday’s game; the former with flu-like systems and the latter with the birth of a new baby girl. (Note: Jason Spezza, while a talented human being did not actually give birth to the child.) The team has not announced whether or not they will play this evening. If Spezza does play, he is dangerous and leads the team with 35 goals and a healthy 50 helpers making him 7th in the league in assists. Defenseman Erik Karlsson’s 58 assists have him in the number three position in the NHL. Milan Michalek is another player to watch with 35 goals and 25 helpers. He is 10th in the league in helpers. To make a long story short, these guys are kind of good. Who woulda thunk it this time last year?
The Canes are still relying on the same thing they have been for a while. Eric Staal, Eric Staal and Eric Staal. El capitan has 24 goals and 45 helpers on the season bringing him to 69 points, 24 points ahead of the next in line, Jussi Jokinen with 45. Even though the team will be relaxing (I did NOT say golfing) during the offseason, as Brandon Sutter pointed out, these last three games are important to set the tone for the club and for the fans. I am crossing my fingers that winger Chad LaRose can notch a goal this evening as he is only 2 away from having a 20 goal season.
I don’t have any real “keys to the game.” I just want to see our fellas play hard until the final horn sounds. And for goodness sakes, please don’t let Chris Neil hurt anyone.
Caniacs have 30 extra minutes tonight to prepare for game time as the puck drops at 7:30pm. Check out the game on Fox Sports Carolina and 99.9 the Fan. The folks over at Senshot will keep you up to date with the Sens. I will be cheering loudly no matter what. We may not have a dog in the hunt but we have pride. It’s a Caniac thing.