Does anyone feel some strong deja vu coming on right now? It’s one week after the Carolina Hurricanes fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning after the Call Heard Round the Carolinas in overtime. Not going to rehash the “incident” where a great injustice was done to Brandon Sutter, because honestly if you haven’t already examined it at every single angle possible, what is the point now? Do I hope Sir Sutter lights the lamp about 6 times tonight? Of course I do, I never said I wasn’t still bitter. The game against the Lightning tonight is the first in a back to back, and the first of three games on the road. All games are against Eastern Conference teams, and we all know how important those points are right now.
The Canes are up and down right now. After an exhilarating OVERTIME ROAD WIN against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, let me say that again an OVERTIME ROAD WIN, the Hurricanes lost in overtime the next night to the Buffalo Sabres. The whopping seven penalties taken by the Canes certainly contributed to the loss. The game against the Sabres also saw the end to Eric Staal’s 12-game point streak.
Besides, things are a little different going into tonight’s game. Bolt Keeper Mathieu Garon sustained a partially torn groin muscle in Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. The injury may keep Garon out of the lineup for the rest of the regular season. The Lightning have called up Dustin Tokarski from their AHL affiliate in Norfolk. Goalie Dwayne Roloson has been struggling to say the least this season, and Tokarski leads the AHL in victories. Tokarski’s performance in the loss to the Washington Capitals Thursday was deemed solid enough, and he is expected to be in net tonight against the Canes.
Tampa Bay’s IR is still rolling in the deep with Captain Vincent Lecavalier out indefinitely as well a few Bolts with bum knees. Canes forward Patrick Dwyer has returned to the checking line after missing the last game against Tampa. Tuomo Ruutu will return to the lineup after missing 10 games with an upper body injury.
Keys to the game:
-For the love of Stormy….stay out of the penalty box!
-Does it need to be said again? Steven Stamkos. He’s two goals away from a 50+ goal season. Let’s not let that happen against the Hurricanes tonight. The other factor that helped win Tampa the last game is Teddy Purcell who is enjoying an 11-game point streak.
-End the game in regulation. If the Canes can’t be consistent and fruitful in overtime, end it before it gets there. Both teams desperately need this win to stay in playoff contention, so expect a heated match tonight.
Cam Ward has been in net every game since his return on February 28 against Nashville. Coach Kirk Muller has said it will be a game by game decision as to when Brian Boucher sees his first game since return from injury.
Lines from practice Friday were the following:
Samson, Bowman extras
The action starts at 7:00pm on Fox Sports Carolina or 99.9 The Fan.
And a very Happy Birthday to Hurricane Tim Brent!!
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