Carolina Hurricanes: Looking to build on successful Whalers night


The Carolina Hurricanes gave their fans a very enjoyable Christmas present in their last game before the Christmas break, beating the Boston Bruins 5-3 at PNC Arena in a game where the franchise celebrated its Hartford Whalers heritage. Tonight, the Canes go again, and are looking to build on the feel-good factor generated by the team that night.

Everything that could go right did go right for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Boston Bruins in that last game before the Christmas break. The team celebrated its Hartford Whalers heritage, wearing throwback jerseys and using Brass Bonanza as their goal song:

With the second-highest attendance of the season at PNC Arena, the Canes came from 2-0 down to blitz the Bruins with a display of Finnish perfection. Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen both notched two goals and two assists, including one each while shorthanded, and the 5-3 final score was just rewards for a 60-minute effort from the Canes.

The team has suffered from injuries to key players, scoring droughts, and from watching Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm scoring goals for fun with their new teams. They deserved a break.

Today the Canes are back, hopefully fresh and well-rested to face the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals, in a game which is sure to see plenty of scoring. The last time the two teams met, Alex Ovechkin posted a hat-trick to sneak the Capitals to a 6-5 shootout win in a game that will be remembered by Canes fans as the game where Coach Rod Brind’Amour left his best shooters out of the shootout, having thrown away a 4-1 lead. It felt like a point lost, rather than gained, and saw the team rebound with a 3-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes two days later.

Clark Bishop and Janne Kuokkanen were recalled again by the Carolina Hurricanes to face the Capitals, and will be looking to continue their recent strong play. Both could do with adding some scoring to their stat sheets, but both have looked solid this season and deserve to be receiving more ice time than more established veterans like Victor Rask and Phil Di Giuseppe. The Canes have announced the same lineup for tonight’s game, which includes Petr Mrazek in net:

The Caps come into the game leading the Metropolitan Division, with captain Alex Ovechkin today announced as the Metro Division’s captain at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game. The Caps have a stellar goalie in Braden Holtby, a quality puck-moving defenseman in John Carlson, and several quality forwards, including criminally under-rated center Nicklas Backstrom. But this Caps team continues to be all about Ovechkin. He has 29 goals in 35 games, leading the NHL, and continues his climb up the all-time scoring charts. Stop Ovechkin, and you stand a good chance of getting the win.

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The Carolina Hurricanes will rely heavily on the top line for scoring again, but if the Canes defense can keep a lid on their turnovers and continue to block shots well, Mrazek is more than capable of keeping the score down enough to allow Aho and co to lead the team to victory.