Hurricanes host the Winnipeg Jets in a renewal of an old rivalry

RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 04: Zach Bogosian #44 of the Winnipeg Jets falls while defending Jordan Staal #11 of the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on February 4, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Jets defeated the Hurricanes 2-1. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 04: Zach Bogosian #44 of the Winnipeg Jets falls while defending Jordan Staal #11 of the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on February 4, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Jets defeated the Hurricanes 2-1. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NC – FEBRUARY 04: Zach Bogosian #44 of the Winnipeg Jets falls while defending Jordan Staal #11 of the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on February 4, 2013, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Jets defeated the Hurricanes 2-1. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – FEBRUARY 04: Zach Bogosian #44 of the Winnipeg Jets falls while defending Jordan Staal #11 of the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on February 4, 2013, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Jets defeated the Hurricanes 2-1. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

In the not-too-distant past, the Winnipeg Jets were the division rivals of the Carolina Hurricanes. With the former Thrashers organization currently residing in Manitoba, it’s a little longer for the opponents for tonight’s game at PNC Arena where the Hurricanes lay in wait. Carolina beat the former Winnipeg Jets in their last game and will be looking to defeat the current iteration of the team.

Carolina is coming off the back of a 5-3 win in the desert over the Arizona Coyotes, but the team has run cold in its last little stretch of games here. A big win tonight could get the Canes back towards their best. It would also make them certain of heading into tomorrow at the top of the Metropolitan Division and removing all dependence on the out-of-town scoreboard. Winning for the Canes could be big tonight.

With only five games standing between the Metropolitan Division leaders and the post-season, the Hurricanes will play their penultimate home game of the regular season against their Central Division opponents tonight. Winnipeg has been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and doesn’t really have much left to play for outside of pride. This game means more for Carolina than the former Thrasher franchise.

Carolina’s dependence on their third line to carry the load was not exposed in the desert when the team played without their captain. With the locker room leader edging closer to health, it could see the team get its crutch back. Not to say that the line he would normally be on wasn’t outstanding in the desert, but it gets to be reunited the way it was for the previous parts of the season.

Still no statement on the Canes Vezina finalist goaltender, but the Hurricanes are turning to an experienced goaltender nonetheless when they put their faith in Stanley Cup Winner Antti Raanta. Raanta was excellent in the game against his former team down in Arizona and he was good enough for the team to win.

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