Erik Cole participated in the pregame skate this morning and all reports say that he will be able to play tonight. It has also been confirmed that Tuomo Ruutu will not suit up. The team is hoping he will recover enough to be able to play Saturday night in Raleigh.
It's been well documented that the Carolina Hurricanes have had success partaking in game 2's in the past. Of course, Cam Ward has shared in that success as well. Ward has a record of 5-0, a GAA of 1.18 and save percentage of .956 in previous game 2's.
Since Ruutu is out, it will throw the line combinations into a mess for the Carolina coaching staff. Patrick Dwyer will fill in for Ruutu and will be on the fourth line. Ryan Bayda and perhaps Patrick Eaves will fill out that line, but there is not a natural center in the bunch. That leads me to believe that Maurice will be mixing and matching the lines all night long.
Eaves could move up and Jokinen or Brind'Amour could center that group on occasion. But it's doubtful that Dwyer will get much playing time. Another rumor has Cole with Brind'Amour and Samsonov. Perhaps the lines will look like this?
- Staal, Whitney, LaRose
- Cullen, Jokinen, Walker
- Brind'Amour, Cole, Samsonov
- Dwyer, Eaves, Bayda
- Corvo, Gleason
- Pitkanen, Seidenberg
- Wallin, Kaberle
Will the Canes seek redemption for the questionable hits on Ruutu and Cole?
Will Cole be able to play his typical, physical brand of hockey?
Can Cam Ward maintain his game 2 mastery?
Will the refs call this game tightly, or will they let them play? Or will it be a mix?
Will Eric Staal break out on the scoresheet again?
Joe Corvo might be someone to watch. Corvo is a streaky player in that he scores his goals in bunches and he just rifled in a nice shot in the third period of game 1.
The game starts at 7:30 and once again will be on Versus with the same crew that worked Monday night.
Attached are some interviews recorded after this morning's skate-