Word on the street and in the local radio studios, is that Eric Staal will make his return to the Carolina Hurricanes lineup tonight, as the Canes, (5-13-5) visit the also struggling Anaheim Ducks, (8-11-3). Both of these teams had high expectations at the beginning of the season and obviously, both have disappointed so far.
If Staal does return as expected, one might wonder where they will put the star forward? Coach Paul Maurice indicated after the last win on Saturday night, that he wanted to keep the top two lines together. Although, Tuomo Ruutu had to leave the Dallas game early on Monday night, so his position on the second line might open up if he can't play tonight. (We sent an email to the Canes asking for his status, and as soon as we hear something we will pass it along).
Staal has missed the last 10 games with an upper body injury, but according to an interview between Joe Ovies and John Forslund on 620 The Buzz yesterday, the center had a tremendous recent practice session and was ready to rock and roll.
Will they try Staal at the wing position and keep Brandon Sutter in the top line center spot? According to a recent poll we had on the site, most readers, (73%), seem to think it's worth a try. As soon as we get official word about where Staal will play, we will post something here.
The Canes have struggled mightily while playing the role of visitor and have still yet to win a road game this season, (0-8-3). The franchise has not had such a poor start on the road since the 1981-82 season when they lost their first 12.
After their failure on the powerplay on Monday night, they have dropped to 28th in the league, (14.4%), while with the man advantage.
The team is also 29th in the league in scoring, (GF 53), and 29th in the league in goals allowed, (GA 83). They are last in the East in both of those categories. They also lead the league again in taking minor penalties, not a good thing unless you are playing fantasy hockey.
Statistically, it's hard to find much positive.
The Ducks are led by Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
|2009 - Corey Perry||22||13||15||28||4||24||2||1||0||0||78||16.7|
|2009 - Ryan Getzlaf||22||4||22||26||3||29||2||0||0||0||46||8.7|
Jonas Hiller to be in goal for the Ducks against Manny Legace for the Canes.
UPDATE: Check that, Giguere is expected to start for the Ducks.
|2009 - Manny Legace||6||346||2||2||17||2.95||161||144||.894||0|
|2009 - Jonas Hiller||17||933||7||8||47||3.02||517||470||.909||1|
|2009 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere||7||402||1||3||21||3.13||221||200||.905||0|
Hiller is 1-0-0 lifetime against Carolina while Legace is 11-2-2 lifetime against Anaheim. Giguere is 1-3-1 lifetime against Carolina.
The game will be televised locally in HD by FS Carolinas and will start at 10 p.m. Eastern. You can also listen in on 99.9 The Fan and we will open the Game Thread here at 9.
If we get any official update later on regarding Staal or Ruutu, we will make another post later today.
Check out Anaheim Calling for Ducks news.
(UPDATE:) Staal has been confirmed in the lineup by a Canes Twitter update. John Forslund told "The Insiders" that Ruutu is out for tonight.