The Canes are home again for a few games in a row here in Raleigh. I think it's called a homestand? It's been so long I forgot! Anyway, the Canes need to start putting some wins together. They need to establish themselves as a tough team to play against at home. With 3 losses in 5 home games so far, (2 of them shutouts) the players definitely have room for improvement. They have had their chance for some road trip team bonding. They have survived some scheduling adversity. There are no more back to backs for awhile. There's no more travel problems. So as Al Davis would say, just win baby!
Tonight we start things up against the Washington Capitals who are no longer cellar dwellers, they're a good team! Superstar Alexander Ovechkin leads this team and is hot having scored 4 goals in the past 2 games. The Caps have won 3 in a row and are playing very well at this point in time. Ovechkin has a total of 10 goals and 18 points. Alexander Semin and Chris Clark have 15 and 14 points respectively. Danius Zubrus recently had a hat-trick and is also dangerous, (13 total points). Richard Zednick has a wrist injury and is listed as day to day. Chances are good that he will be scratched tonight. We will probably see Kolzig in goal because he always plays us tough.
The Canes are coming off a disappointing shootout loss to the Devils, but they have played pretty well lately as well. Their last home game was a 4-0 loss to the Canadiens though, so they should be looking to improve. Rod Brind'Amour and Ray Whitney both lead the team in scoring with 20 points each. Eric Staal is close behind with a team leading 9 goals and 17 points. When Ray Whitney scores a goal the Canes rarely lose, so let's get him on the board! Cam Ward will be in goal and David Tanabe looks like he will be scratched again tonight. Tim Gleason left the morning skate early with Cory Stillman, (who has been practicing with the powerplay unit wearing the blue "don't touch me" jersey), so it looks like Gleason will continue to sit out tonight.
Even though I'm thinking that the team should establish themselves on this homestand, the opponents don't get any easier with the Penguins coming Saturday night, the Sabres Monday, and the Rangers Wednesday. So this game is very important to get the guys on the right track. The Canes should be able to give the Cap's defense fits if they play their game, so contain the "Alex's" and the Hurricanes should win this game handily. Go Canes!