Carolina Hurricanes (24-20-7) vs Washington Capitals (36-11-6)
The Carolina Hurricanes take on the league-leading Washington Capitals tonight at the Verizon Center. This is the third matchup between the Metropolitan Division rivals and the Capitals have a slight edge. The Hurricanes won the first matchup 5-1 in November, and in December the Capitals edged the Canes 4-3 in overtime. In the January matchup, the Caps buried the Canes 6-1 in the midst of the Hurricanes recent five-game losing streak.
The Capitals are the NHL’s hottest team with points in sixteen of their last eighteen games. With offensive threats like Ovechkin, Backstrom, Oshie, and Kuznetsov the Hurricanes will have their hands full tonight. The Canes, busting out of a five-game losing streak, have won their last three games and seem to be trending in the right direction again. Tonight’s matchup will be an entertaining game filled with speed and skill. If the Hurricanes can tighten up defensively on the heels of their 5-4 overtime win against the Islanders, they stand a chance to take down the Capitals tonight.
Game Day By the Numbers
|Last Result||5-4 W vs NYI (OT)||5-0 W vs LAK|
|PP% (Goals)||17.1% (26)||20.6% (33)|
|SH% (Goals)||87.7% (6)||84.5% (4)|
Sebastian Aho is becoming the Hurricanes’ most impactful player. Night in and night out, he plays a solid two-way game and plays with a consistent level of effort. Aho came into the league and learned to play the game the right way, and is now starting to break out as a top-tier goal scoring threat. Aho was named NHL’s first star of the week after scoring four goals in three games. Justin Gilliland discussed Aho’s potential, and we can see him realizing that potential in front of our eyes. Aho sits six points behind Jeff Skinner and is closing in on him for the Canes top point getter. If he keeps up his recent pace Aho could put himself in contention for the Calder Trophy and help lead the Hurricanes to the postseason.
The Hurricanes’ defense really chipped in on Saturday night against the Islanders, scoring three of the Canes five goals in the overtime victory. Slavin opened the game’s scoring and Ron Hainsey netted two goals including the overtime winner. That performance should help boost the confidence of this young d-core and help push them towards the finish line this season.
The Hurricanes sit four points behind the Philadelphia Flyers and have three games in hand. It’s going to take something magical down the stretch to make the postseason, but they are within reach and control our own destiny.
Jeff Skinner took an awkward hit along the boards on Saturday night. He returned and finished the game, but he looked like he was pretty banged up. Skinner will likely be a game-time decision.
There is no word yet on who is starting in net for the Canes. The Carolina Hurricanes have ridden Cam Ward all season long, and with only two games over the next ten days, it’s possible the Canes go back to him tonight. Bill Peters has mentioned a desire to get Lack in a game at some point, but as long as the Canes feel Ward is hot, they’ll keep putting him between the pipes.
Follow @CardiacCane for any lineup changes or news.
How To Watch
Verizon Center: Puck Drop at 7:00 pm ET
Watch: Fox Sports Carolinas / Fox Sports Go app
Listen: 99.9 FM The Fan / WRALsportsfan.com