Hurricanes Record: 8-10-5 (21 pts.)
Senators Record: 9-10-4 (22 pts.)
This evening the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators will square off for their first of three games this season. The two teams have rather evenly matched records in the Eastern Conference (ranking 12th and 11th, respectively) and both are playing the second game of a back-to-back tonight. The Hurricanes may be a little more rested, arriving home in time for a late dinner Saturday evening after a 3-2 matinee overtime loss to the Bruins in Boston. The Senators posted a 4-2 win in their match against the Daniel Alredsson-less Red Wings but didn't leave Detroit for Raleigh until after midnight. Neither team is expected to practice or have media availability prior to the game so updates will likely be scarce up until game time.
- Facing the Bruins yesterday, the Canes were able to score early but played a lackluster mid-frame that resulted in a 4 SOG second period. A beauty of a backhand scored by Patrick Dwyer short-handed allowed the Canes to tie the score before losing 3-2 in overtime.
- Andrej Sekera has been channeling his inner number-sake Bobby Orr. After blocking a Shawn Thornton slapshot, Sekera briefly left the game but returned to score the early power play goal. Sekera has three goals in the last two games, and his five goals are his best ever for a season and ties him for the team lead.
- The Canes have scored four short-handed goals in their last four games (all on the road).
- Eric Staal has points in five straight games.
- Jiri Tlusty is appearing in his 300th NHL game.
- A starting goaltender hasn't been named. Cam Ward was sharp in net yesterday, stopping 35 shots and pulling in second star honors. He is 11-7-1 with a 2.51 GAA and a shutout in 19 career games against the Senators. Justin Peters is 0-1-0 in one career game.
- Kirk Muller post-game [audio]
- Lines from yesterday's game:
- Riley Nash, Jay Harrison, and Mike Komisarek all were healthy scratches yesterday and with the back-to-back they could all see action tonight.
- Injuries: Alexander Semin (IR, concussion, missed 3 games) and Anton Khudobin (IR, ankle, missed 17 games)
- Depth Chart
- Injury Report
- Ottawa had dropped three straight games heading into this weekend. They played a chippy game (10 penalties) that caught them killing off three 5-on-3 disadvantages but were able to prevail in the win against the Wings last night. Clarke MacArthur had two goals and was the game's first star.
- Ottawa has the NHL's 2nd worst TOI differential on special teams in the NHL.
- Defenseman Erik Karlsson leads the Senators with 24 points and has a five-game points streak.
- Player to watch out for... none other than ex-Hurricane Joe Corvo, who was a healthy scratch yesterday (along with Matt Kassian and Eric Gryba). Anyone recall how Corvo played after he was scratched by the Canes last season? Or how he plays against his former teams?
- Other Senators known to give the Canes fits... Jason Spezza with 37 points in 31 games, and Cory Conacher with four points in four games. Also of note, Patrick Wiercioch, Chris Phillips, Colin Greening, Derek Grant, and Matt Kassian are all goalless season to date.
- Craig Anderson reported yesterday that he expected to be in net today, although head coach Paul MacLean said the decision wouldn't be made until the team arrived in Raleigh. Anderson is 5-2-4 with 2.58 GAA in 11 games against the Canes. Robin Lehner faced 36 shots last night and had a .944 save percentage. Lehner has never faced the Canes, although he was the starting goaltender (and eventual MVP) for the Binghamton Senators squad that defeated the Charlotte Checkers in the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs.
- Ottawa (4th last year in man games lost) is not reporting any injuries on their roster. As mentioned, Kassian, Corvo, and Gryba were all healthy scratches last night and could be in the lineup tonight.
- Lines from yesterday's game:
It's family night with discounted ticket pricing. Show up early to party on the South Plaza and claim your Jeff Skinner bobblehead, and stay afterwards for Slapshot Sunday on the ice. We'll have the open game thread ready to roll at 4:30 pm. See you at the rink.