SB Nation Rival Blog: Die By The Blade
The Carolina Hurricanes play their second of four games on four consecutive nights and their first of three straight on the road tonight as they take on the Buffalo Sabres. The Canes kicked off their pre-season yesterday with a 5-4 loss to new division opponent Columbus.
It's hard to get too fired up about pre-season games, but this one could be a bit grittier than most, and certainly more so than last nights game. The Canes completed their first trade in franchise history with the Sabres by acquiring Andrej Sekera from for the 35th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (J. T. Compher) and Jamie McBain. Sekera recently made a few comments to Chip Alexander that quickly got taken out of context on Twitter and fired up some of the Sabres loyal fans. The Canes then signed Nathan Gerbe who was bought out of his contract this summer by the Sabres. Add to it the history between the two teams that really kicked off in the 2006 NHL Eastern Conference Finals and Sekera scheduled to play tonight and it's easy to see this one could get chippy.
Things to watch for tonight:
1 - Youth. How will the younger players take advantage of this opportunity? This is perhaps the last opportunity to make an NHL squad for Boychuk, Bowman, and Dalpe. The bottom 6 is wide open, and Kirk Muller has some strong comments after the game last night wondering when one of those players would step up and reminding them there are very limited opportunities in pre-season. All three need to show everything they have. Only Bowman can say that he's built up a bit of leeway.
2 - Defense - How will the revamped defense continue to look early in the pre-season? Can Murphy make a case to stick with the team? Will Sekera and Hainsey fit in with the rest of the squad? Can Gleason bounce back from a down year last year? Hainsey and Murphy, and played last night. How will the respond in a back to back situation? Sekera looks to be paired with Faulk tonight. How will he fit in with the rest of the team? How will he look against his old teammates?
3 - Goaltending. This one applies to both ends of the ice. Anton Khudobin is to get the start with Ward and Peters playing last night. Can Khudobin be the back-up the team needs? On the other end of the ice you have Ryan Miller and his, shall we say, murky status with the team going forward.
Per Michael Smith (@MSmithCanes) the line up looks like:
Tlusty - Jordan Staal - Dalpe
Skinner - Welsh - Gerbe
Terry - Dwyer - Dvorak
Boychuk - Sutter - Jared Staal
Sekera - Faulk
Hainsey - Murphy
Jordan - Bellemore
Khudobin to start
As with last nights game there is no TV, so it's Chuck and the Letter K on 99.9 the Fan if you want to keep up.
The game thread will open at 6:30 PM.