The Florida Panthers are in Raleigh to battle the Hurricanes for second place in the Southeast Division tonight at the RBC. While the Hurricanes currently have 33 points and the Panthers have 31, if Florida is victorious they would have more total wins and would move into second place. (They would also have a game in hand)
This is the third meeting of the season for the teams and they have one win apiece.
The Panthers have been one of the hotter teams in the league the past 10 games, (6-2-2), but are coming off a loss in Vancouver the other night. Goalie Craig Anderson had been doing very well during the streak, but will be getting a break tonight as Tomas Vokoun returns to net.
Cam Ward will be in goal for the Canes.
The Hurricanes have earned points in their last 5 games, (2-0-3) which is their longest point streak of the season. They have improved to 8-8-1 at home while Florida is a respectable 8-9-1 on the road. Florida has a much better divisional record of 5-2 while Carolina is sporting a losing divisional record of 4-5.
Like most other teams in the league, the Panthers have been fighting the injury bug, but David Booth and Cory Stillman are both expected to play tonight. Stephen Weiss will be a gametime decision. Booth leads the team with 12 goals.
The Hurricanes are finally getting healthy themselves as the only players listed as injured are Anton Babchuk and Nic Wallin. Defenseman, Frank Kaberle will make a return tonight. Kaberle has three assists in seven games played so far this year.
Brett Carson is the only remaining call-up from Albany and will be filling in again as needed. (of course Tim Conboy returned when Kaberle was re-activated)
Eric Staal and Rod Brind'Amour each have 4 game point streaks on the line. The team captain is one assist shy of 700 for his career.
Don't forget, the first 10,000 fans will receive Eric Staal bobbleheads. Will Staal celebrate with a hat-trick?
Game starts at 7 and it will be broadcast locally.