The World Champion Pittsburgh Penguins are in town to take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals. Seemingly, if you ask anyone on the Hurricanes side about the game, they will tell you that it's just another game. One of 82. Last year is last year, it's meaningless.
Here is a quote from team captain, Rod Brind`Amour when asked by Luke DeCock about the game. (Did Brindy forget that the team has already played five games, leaving 77?)
"For us, it's a game, but we still have 79 of them," Brind'Amour said. "One game's an important game, and we know they're a good team, but last year's last year. We don't make a big deal about it."
From a fan's perspective, this game certainly is a "big deal". First of all, you are playing the Stanley Cup Champs. That fact alone should bring some extra adrenaline to the table. But when you have a rematch with a club which eliminated you just a few short months ago, that should also hold a bit more meaning.
In this particular case it was not just an elimination, it was an embarrassment. The Pens swept the Canes in four straight. They came to Raleigh and dominated, almost scoring at will. Neither game was even close as the visitors blew out the home team 6-2 and 4-1. Perhaps the players and the coaching staff have pushed those thoughts from their minds, but it's doubtful that fans have.
Just another game of 82? I think not.
Although Boston claimed that they did not have revenge on their minds before meeting the Canes on October 3. Remember Claude Julien's quote? Revenge was not a factor. But in reality, do you think that game was just another one in 82 to them?
The Bruins jumped on the Canes early and out-shot the team 21-7 in the opening period, and 15-8 in the second. Forget all the fights and ancillary activity. Boston had a 3-0 first period lead and then was up 5-0 before the Canes even realized what hit them. That's the best revenge.
If the Hurricanes do not come out with some extra jump tonight, they need to have their collective pulses taken.
Joni Pitkanen will not play, he is still recovering from his sore knee.
After taking the day off yesterday, Eric Staal was back at the morning skate and was looking good. He will be in the lineup. The Hurricanes lines should be the same as in recent games.
- Staal, Ruutu, Samsonov
- Cullen, LaRose, Whitney
- Brind'Amour, Jokinen, Walker
- Yelle, Kostopoulos, Conboy
- Corvo, Gleason
- Ward, Wallin
- Alberts, Harrison
Cam Ward will be facing Marc-Andre Fleury. As Hockeymom stated yesterday, it might come down to a battle between these two for the cherished third goaltending spot for Team Canada. This head-to-head competition might be relevant to the decision making.
|2009 - Cam Ward||5||273||2||3||13||2.86||150||137||.913||0|
|2009 - Marc-Andre Fleury||5||305||5||0||12||2.36||140||128||.914||0|
Interestingly enough, Ward has made more saves than Fleury, but Fleury's stats are impeccable so far.
According to Pensburgh, the Pittsburgh lines are as follows. (Apparently, Jordan Staal is being played at wing?)
- Crosby, Kunitz, Guerin
- Malkin, Fedotenko, Staal
- Kennedy, Cooke, Dupuis
- Godard, Rupp, Adams
Gonchar, McKee, Orpik, Goligoski, Letang, and Eaton are on the blueline.
The game will be broadcast in HD by FS Carolinas and as always you can listen at 99.9 The Fan. This should be a huge game for Carolina as they can measure themselves against the league's best.
Will they bring their best or is this just another game?