The Carolina Hurricanes are in Vancouver to take on the Canucks tonight in a battle of streaking teams. The Canes have won four of their last five games, while the 'Nucks have lost eight in a row as well as their last nine games at home. This will be the first of a three game Western Conference road swing for the Hurricanes.
Much was made of the Mats Sundin signing last month, but so far his acquisition has been a disappointment. The hockey world held it's breath for months while the ex-Leaf captain made up his mind who to play for. He ended up choosing Vancouver, the franchise which offered him a two year, 20 million dollar deal earlier in the season. But so far, the Swede has been less than a bargain. For comparison sake, at his current pace he would have the worst plus/minus in the league if he would have played 50 games.
|2008 - Mats Sundin||9||2||1||3||-6||16||1||0||0||0||19||10.5|
It's projected that Sundin will be playing on a line with Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra, (another disappointment for Vancouver fans). The often injured winger has missed a few games again this year, but Demitra is always dangerous. For the first time since October, the Vancouver team is healthy. Speaking of healthy, Shane O'Brien was healthy scratched last game and wasn't very happy about it. He had plenty to say in a rather unusual interview posted by the Vancouver Sun.
O'Brien should take a lesson from Chad LaRose. After LaRose was healthy scratched for a game by new coach, Paul Maurice, the forward didn't whine to the press about it, he did his talking out on the ice the very next chance he had. Needless to say, he has not been healthy scratched since.
While we are on the subject of Chad LaRose, the speedster has the longest current point streak on the team, three games. Matt Cullen has two goals and two assists in each of the last two games.
Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward will be making his 17th consecutive start. When recently questioned about his heavy workload, the young netminder responded that he felt great.
|2008 - Cam Ward||39||2279||20||15||3||7||95||2.50||1094||999||.913||3|
Roberto Luongo is finally healthy and will be in net for Vancouver, although recently he has not been the dominating force in goal that he has been in the past. Some are questioning his complete health, even though he has returned. His overall stats do not look too shabby though.
|2008 - Roberto Luongo||24||1384||11||7||5||2||58||2.51||693||635||.916||5|
The Hurricanes are expected to keep the same lineup as the past few games:
- Staal, Samsonov, Ruutu
- Cullen, Whitney, Williams
- Brind'Amour, LaRose, Eaves
- Sutter, Bayda, Ryan
- Corvo, Gleason
- Pitkanen, Babchuk
- Kaberle, Rodney
Eric Staal notched another game-winning goal on Thursday night, giving him six for the season. That ties him for 5th place in the league in that category.
The game will be broadcast by FS Carolinas and will start at 10 Eastern.
(Attached is a Paul Maurice interview recorded after practice yesterday.)
PS. We will have another live game thread for this contest which will be open for discussion. Feel free to join in.