The Carolina Hurricanes (26-22-9) will be the first of two teams to return to NHL ice tonight as they take on the Buffalo Sabres (15-34-8) in a makeup game from Jan. 7. The game starts at 7 p.m. and will be televised on SportsSouth and NHL Network and broadcasted on the radio at 99.9 FM The Fan.
The Canes and Sabres met once before on Jan. 23 with the Hurricanes earning a 5-3 win. Andrej Sekera had the game-winner against his former team.Hurricanes’ Lineup Jiri Tlusty – Eric Staal – Alexander Semin Jeff Skinner – Jordan Staal – Elias Lindholm Nathan Gerbe- Manny Malhotra – Patrick Dwyer Drayson Bowman – Riley Nash – Tuomo Ruutu Andrej Sekera – Justin Faulk John-Michael Liles – Ron Hainsey Jay Harrison – Brett Bellemore Cam Ward [Anton Khuboin] Possible Scratches: Radek Dvorak, Justin Peters and Mike Komisarek (Healthy). Sabres’ Lineup Matt D’Agostini – Cody Hodgson – Steve Ott Linus Omark – Tyler Ennis – Drew Stafford Marcus Foligno – Brian Flynn – Zemgus Girgensons John Scott – Philip Varone – Matt Ellis Christian Ehroff – Alexander Sulzer Henrik Tallinder – Chad Ruhwedel Mike Weber – Jamie McBain Ryan Miller/Jhonas Enroth Possible Scratches: Cody McCormick, Kevin Porter, Matt Moulson and Tyler Myers.
Hurricanes’ Outlook: Some of the Canes’ best players in the Staal brothers, Jeff Skinner and Anton Khudobin were able to rest for the break, while Justin Faulk hardly played, and Andrej Sekera and Alexander Semin were home early, so fatigue should not be a problem in the slightest for any player, besides Tuomo Ruutu.
Speaking of Ruutu, the Finnish forward had a great Olympic tournament and played strong in the final games before the break. Carolina will need that production moving forward.
Anton Khudobin won January’s Player of the Month before the break and has seemed to take the starting spot from Cam Ward. It’s likely he’ll be back in net tonight.
UPDATE: Ward will be in net tonight.
John-Michael Liles was injured before the break and while there have been no updates, it’s probable that he’s ready to go again.
Sabres’ Outlook: It’s nearly impossible that the Sabres will make the playoffs this season and some of the team’s players are rumored to be on the trading block, including Steve Ott and goalie Ryan Miller.
At this point the team isn’t playing with a lot of confidence or optimism, but nobody likes losing and the Sabres will want to finish out the season as strong as the Hurricanes want to. The Canes cannot take the Sabres for granted even with the awful record.
Jamie McBain did not play against the Hurricanes in the previous meeting, but could get a shot in this one.
A recap will be posted after the game.