SB Nation Rival Blog: Arctic Ice Hockey
Hurricanes Record: 30-31-9 | 69 pts | 7th Metro | 13th EC
Jets Record: 32-30-9 | 73 pts | 6th Central | 11th WC
Games Remaining: 12
Minimum Points Needed: 92
Points Back: 23 (1.92 points/game)
Playoff Chances (Sports Club Stats): 0.5%
Tragic Number: 16
The Hurricanes and Jets will wrap up a two-game series tonight in Winnipeg. The Jets won 2-1 the last time the two teams met, in Raleigh on February 4th. They've won five of the last six against the Hurricanes, but to the Canes favor, the road team has won 17 out of the last 23.
The Jets enter tonight's game well-rested, not having played since Wednesday night, a 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. Andrew Ladd scored two goals and Blake Wheeler tallied the game winner. Wheeler has seven points in his last three games.
The Jets are six points out of playoff contention with three teams to jump for a wild card spot.
Al Montoya will start in net tonight for the fourth game in a row. Montoya is 0-1-1 versus the Canes but 2-1-0 in his last three starts. Backup Michael Hutchinson has not faced the Canes. Ondrej Pavelec is recovering from a lower body injury and will not be in the lineup.
Zach Bogosian (upper body), Dustin Byfuglien (lower body) and Jim Slater (lower body) are all expected to skate this morning to determine if they are able to play. Mark Schiefele (knee) and Chris Thorburn (ankle) are out of the lineup.
The Canes are playing in a back-to-back scenario coming off the loss last night to the Blackhawks in Chicago. After spotting the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead, the Canes tied the game thanks to two goals by Alexander Semin, only to go back down 31 seconds later when Jonathan Toews scored shorthanded to preserve a 3-2 win.
Canes will complete their 18th set of back-to-back games tonight. They are 9-8-1 in the front halves and 4-10-3 in the back halves.
After going scoreless in two games, Alex Semin's two goals last night give him eleven points for the month of March (10 games). He has 26 points in his last 28 games, and is a point-per-game player against the Jets with 43 points in 42 career games.
Anton Khudobin faced 25 shots last night but had to play harder than the numbers indicate to keep his team within striking distance. His only prior appearance against the Jets was in the loss last month. With the back-to-back the team could turn to Cam Ward, who is 21-11-4 with a 2.99 GAA and one shutout in 37 career games against the Thrashers/Jets.
There is no morning skate for the Canes so don't expect too many changes to last night's line-up. Ryan Murphy is the only known active injury (upper body).
Finally, for your game day reading, on Paul Maurice's impressive work with the Jets, including reaction from Jim Rutherford and Ron Francis [The Province].
We'll have the game thread ready to roll by 6:30 pm. See you there.