The Carolina Hurricanes are in Washington to battle the Caps tonight in another Southeast Showdown. The Canes have not fared well against their brothers in the Southeast and currently are 1-2 against the Caps. Overall they have a less than impressive divisional record of 11-8.
The Canes find themselves in 10th place in the conference with 69 points, although they are only one point out of a playoff spot. (They are technically tied with Buffalo, but since the Sabres have a game in hand, they earn the tie breaker.) The Caps are currently tied for second place with 85 points.
Of course, all the familiar faces will be on the ice for the Caps:
|2008 - Alex Ovechkin||62||46||36||82||14||66||14||1||9||1||409||11.2|
|2008 - Alexander Semin||45||25||34||59||28||63||4||0||6||1||147||17.0|
|2008 - Nicklas Backstrom||64||17||51||68||14||36||10||0||1||0||133||12.8|
|2008 - Mike Green||51||23||33||56||23||52||16||1||2||1||183||12.6|
The only good news is that Jose Theodore should be in net.
|2008 - Jose Theodore||43||2461||24||13||3||2||119||2.90||1177||1058||.899||1|
As always, you can find more Caps news over at Japer's Rink.
Cam Ward will probably make his 12th straight start for Carolina.
|2008 - Cam Ward||51||2928||26||21||3||10||126||2.58||1384||1258||.909||4|
Jussi Jokinen is on leave because of the death of his father, so the Hurricanes recalled Dwight Helminen in case they need a spare body.
Scott Walker is expected to be back in the lineup after a prolonged battle with concussion related ailments. Look for him to start off on the fourth line. Here are what the lines looked like at practice yesterday:
- Staal, Samsonov, Ruutu
- Cullen, Whitney, LaRose
- Brind'Amour, Ryan, Eaves
- Walker, Bayda, Conboy
You'll notice that there is no centerman in that last grouping, so if Helmimen plays tonight, (a true center), one of them will have to sit out, presumably Conboy. But that might not be a good idea because Washington is a huge team and they will most likely try to bully the Canes a bit, and take advantage of their size. Carolina desperately needs someone like Conboy to push back if needed.
UPDATE: Chip is reporting that Bayda will be the healthy scratch
On defense, will the Canes continue to try to showcase Frank Kaberle, or will they reinstate Nic Wallin and send Kaberle back to the press box where he has been stationed for a good part of the season? Kaberle has been playing big minutes on the powerplay, with no success to date.
Anton Babchuk has been the one hot player on the team with points in the last four games and goals in the last three.
The game will not be on local television, nor is it listed under atdhe.net, so check in with 99.9 The Fan or find a friend with Center Ice. We will be commenting here on the Live Thread as usual.
Can the Canes put Saturday night's implosion behind them?