The All Star break is finally over and hockey commences tonight in the NHL. The Hurricanes are in New York to tangle with the Rangers in a contest which begins a series of important games for the Canes. It's make-or-break time and Carolina can either earn a spot in the playoffs, or fall out of contention in the coming weeks.
Both teams had been playing well as the Canes are coming off a two game winning streak, while the Rangers have won four of their last five.
Cam Ward was outstanding before the break, getting a shut out against the Leafs and allowing just one goal against the Penguins. He stopped 67 out of 68 shots and was named the NHL's 2nd star for last week. The goalie has started 13 consecutive games and is just one victory shy of 100 NHL wins for his career.
The Canes are 11-10-4 on the road while the Rangers are 15-8-2 at home.
Nic Wallin did not make the trip and will be sitting this game out. Frank Kaberle will take his spot. Scott Walker, who left the Penguins game early with an undisclosed injury, will be back in the lineup tonight.
Associate Coach, Ron Francis will not be behind the bench tonight because of a back injury sustained during the All Star break. It's not known when he will return to duty.
Of course, Eric Staal represented the Canes in the All Star game and scored a goal on his only shot of the contest. Staal has participated in the classic three years in a row and has scored in each affair.
After scoring in Toronto, Joe Corvo now leads all NHL defensemen with four game-winning goals.
Coach Paul Maurice is indicating that he will keep the lines the same as they were in Pittsburgh-
- Staal, Williams, Samsonov
- Cullen, Walker, Whitney
- Brind'Amour, LaRose, Ruutu
- Sutter, Bayda, Eaves
Would this be a good opportunity for Wade Brookbank to see some ice time? The Rangers have a tendency to play a physical game and Colton Orr did knock out Matt Cullen a year ago.
The game will be broadcast locally by FS Carolinas starting at 7 or you can listen to it as always on 99.9 The Fan.