The Carolina Hurricanes, (38-30-11) are not eliminated from the postseason yet, but general consensus is that they will need to win out to give themselves a chance to get in. With just three games left in their regular season, tonight's game against the Detroit Red Wings, (46-23-10) is another very important one.
Don't ask coach Paul Maurice about the pressure of winning out though, it's a "one game at a time" attitude for the coach.
"We can only win one tonight," said the coach. "You can't bring the enormity of the importance of these next three games. You could lose tonight, win the next two, and still make the playoffs.... Tonight's the night for us to be at our best."
The coach was still happy how his team played against Buffalo, at least in the third period. He's hoping that his team opens up this game with the same intensity as it closed out that last one.
"Clearly you have to respect the opponent and what they can do, but we need to be an initiator in this game and we need to start from the drop of the puck with a very defined style that want to play and we have to play it at a very, very high level," said Maurice.
I attended the morning skate today and the team seemed very loose, although they were focused. Look for the same lineup tonight that has played in recent games. Troy Bodie and Jay Harrison will be the scratches.
Look for the following lines:
- Stillman, Staal, Cole
- Skinner, Ruutu, Jokinen
- Bowman, Sutter, LaRose
- Tlusty, Dwyer, Samson
- Gleason, Corvo
- Pitkanen, McBain
- Allen, Joslin
Cam Ward will be starting his career high 72nd game of the season. Ward continues to lead the league in shots faced and saves made.
|2010 - Cam Ward||71||4139||35||25||179||2.59||2281||2102||.922||3|
The Red Wings will probably be starting Jimmy Howard, who has a 2-0 record since his recent return from injury.
|2010 - Jimmy Howard||60||3436||36||15||158||2.76||1733||1575||.909||2|
The Wings are led by the usual suspects, including "old man" Nicklas Lidstrom, a player I was criticized for at Pro Hockey Talk at the beginning of the season because I selected him to be on the starting defense for my fantasy team. As Debbie Yow would say, "whatever."
|2010 - Henrik Zetterberg||79||24||56||80||-1||40||10||0||3||304|
|2010 - Nicklas Lidstrom||79||16||46||62||-1||20||7||0||1||169|
|2010 - Pavel Datsyuk||53||22||36||58||13||15||6||1||5||121|
|2010 - Johan Franzen||73||28||26||54||8||58||10||0||5||237|
The Wings have won two in a row, but lost a couple of games prior to that when Howard was unable to play. They are 5-3-2 in their last 10.
Detroit clinched the Central Division title on Sunday, but they are still fighting for points and for better position in the conference.
The Detroit Free Press has their lines like so:
The Canes are 6-1-1 in their last 8 and 7-2-1 in their last 10. Eric Staal has the team's longest point streak at three games.
Hockeymom has updated her game day guide which is available at the following link.
FS Carolinas will have the telecast starting at 7. We will be reporting with the open game thread/live blog starting at 6:30.