The Carolina Hurricanes continue their West Coast swing to start the season with a matchup against the San Jose Sharks this evening. The Sharks will be playing in their third contest of the season as well as the third of four straight home games to open the season.
San Jose and Carolina are two organizations in different directions this season. The Canes are pushing for a deep playoff run as the Sharks are in the process of rebuilding.
The Hurricanes were part of this rebuilding when they acquired Brent Burns last season. The former Sharks defenseman has a goal and an assist in the young season.
The most recent exit from San Jose was former Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson.
Despite losing two key, veteran defenseman, Marc-Edouard Vlasic is still a staple on the back line. This will be his 18th season in San Jose after being taken 35th overall in 2005 by the Sharks.
Another familiar face is captain, Logan Couture. Unfortunately, he has been out with an injury and recently had a setback in his rehabilitation. Last season, Couture had a career season with 67 points.
This group still has some veteran help up front with Tomas Hertl and newcomers Mike Hoffman and Anthony Duclair.
The team is pushing for young players to get an opportunity and grow experience while providing some speed.
To begin the season, the Sharks have scored just two goals in two defeats. Filip Zadina and Thomas Bordeleau have the goals and the assists are registered to Mike Hoffman, Tomas Hertl, Matt Benning, and Henry Thrun.
The last game was a shootout defeat to the Colorado Avalanche where the Sharks were leading for most of the game. The star of the game was a newcomer from the New Jersey Devils, Mackenzie Blackwood.
Blackwood stymied the Avalanche offense for the majority of the game, registering 51 saves in his San Jose debut. Kaapo Kahkonen is the other netminder and struggled in the opener against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Blackwood earned another start.
The Canes should be more rested after having yesterday off. Rod Binrd’Amour’s group will need to attack early and not let the Sharks gain any confidence from solid goaltending.
For you sports gambling folk, the Canes are -300 to win and -125 giving 1.5 goals.