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Knocking at Your Backdoor - Thrashers at Hurricanes Pre-Game

Don't look now, but the Washington Capitals are just 2 points behind the Hurricanes. The Caps certainly look like a team on a mission as they won again in OT last night. Even though the Canes hold the advantages in most tie-breaker scenarios, there's not much room for any kind of losing streak at this important stage of the season.

The schedule maker supposedly gave Carolina a bit of a break as they take on the Atlanta Thrashers tonight, a team who has been out of the playoff picture awhile now. But Atlanta beat Florida last night, virtually eliminating that sorry bunch's hopes of playing in the post-season. No doubt that the "Trash" would love to be a thorn in Carolina's side, as well.

Remember earlier this week I was wondering outloud about how the lineups will look, once the injured players start to return? Not to worry! While Chad LaRose is making his much anticipated return tonight, Patrick Eaves is taking his place on the IR. Eaves apparently never got over his earlier shoulder problem and is going under the knife soon. He is scheduled to be out for the next 3-4 weeks.

The Carolina lineup should look something like this....

  • Staal-Cole-Samsonov

  • Aucoin-Walker-Bayda

  • Letowski-LaRose-Ruutu

  • Jensen-Brookbank-Hamilton

  • Hedican-Gleason

  • Wesley-Wallin

  • Corvo-Kaberle

Cam Ward will once again start between the pipes. Conboy and Seidenberg will be healthy scratches. The Hurricanes can't afford to take this game lightly, nor should they take for granted their "supposed" playoff spot. The rest of the NHL seems to be rooting for the Capitals to be Southeast Division champs so that Ovechkin will make the playoffs. Injuries or not, the Canes can't afford any let up.

Deep Purple