With injuries being a key factor in what the team will look like as they take to the ice tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes are taking on the Arizona Coyotes as this will be the last time the organization will visit Gila River Arena for the foreseeable future. However, we will have all of next season to talk about how the Coyotes are moving to a college rink and are sharing with the Arizona State Sundevils, so let’s talk about this Coyotes – Canes game.
We’re expecting to see three former Coyotes return to the desert and face their former team. Tony DeAngelo, Derek Stepan, and Antti Raanta will all be returning to the desert. Ignoring the fact they were all once traded for each other, they should all be starting for the Hurricanes tonight. A big performance from this trio against their former employer could see the Canes get a win in a game they cannot afford to lose.
In the last ten games, Carolina has the second-worst record of the 16 teams in playoff positions. Only Pittsburgh (3-6-1) has a worse record than the Canes (4-5-1) do. For a team that is supposed to have aspirations of winning the Metropolitan Division, that is just not good enough. Tonight, they find themselves against one of the weakest teams in the NHL. They cannot afford to lose. Two points are vital if they want to stay ahead of the New York Rangers.
Carolina will be without its captain tonight who is currently listed as day-to-day. After suffering a big hit against the Colorado Avalanche, Jordan Staal has been listed as day-to-day with an upper-body ailment. When he is to return is still unknown at this point, but we know Staal is expected to be back long before the start of the playoffs. Carolina should have its captain for the start of the dance.