NEWARK NJ - FEBRUARY 08: Joni Pitkanen #25 of the Carolina Hurricanes is checked by Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game at the Prudential Center on February 8 2011 in Newark New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
As most of the Caniac Nation has heard by now, Ian White was not on the ice for the Hurricanes morning skate at "The Rock" this morning. Coach Paul Maurice said that "something in the works was pending" concerning the defenseman. Brett Carson was recalled last night to fill in for White.
While everyone waits to see what happens with the defenseman acquired from Calgary earlier this season, there is still an important hockey game to think about tonight.
The Canes are back in New Jersey to battle with the red hot Devils, a team which has a 12-1-2 record in their last 15 games.
Carolina lost the first game of this five game road trip in Jersey last week Tuesday, by a 3-2 score in overtime.
While they still have major work to do, the Devils have not ruled out making the playoffs yet and look at the Hurricanes as a team they need to beat in order to get in. They will be fired up and ready to compete tonight, using that same tight checking and sometimes, slow moving Jacques Lamaire "system of champions".
Martin Brodeur is still out but could start to practice again tomorrow. That means "Moose" Johan Hedberg willl be facing Canes iron man, Cam Ward in net.
|2010 - Cam Ward||50||2871||24||18||130||2.72||1622||1492||.920||2|
|2010 - Johan Hedberg||26||1239||9||10||55||2.66||571||516||.904||1|
This will be the 17th consecutive start for Ward.
Some good news to report for Hurricanes fans is that Jussi Jokinen practiced with the team yesterday and will return to the lineup tonight. He apparently will start out on the fourth line, but could be moved up at anytime when he feels comfortable.
It looks like the lines will start out as follows:
- Staal, Cole, LaRose
- Sutter, Ruutu, Skinner
- Samsonov, Tlusty, Dwyer
- Jokinen, Bodie, Samson
- Gleason, Corvo
- Pitkanen, McBain
- Harrison, Carson
It's another important game because the surging Buffalo Sabres are just two points behind Carolina and they have two games in hand. The Canes are also just two points behind the New York Rangers. It goes without saying that each point is vital at this stage of the season.
John Forslund and Tripp Tracy will be back on the tube tonight to inform and entertain the masses starting at 7 p.m. We will have our ever-popular open game thread cranked up at 6:30.