The Carolina Hurricanes, (8-19-6) are in Sunrise, Florida to take on the Florida Panthers, (14-14-7) tonight in the first game of a back-to-back, home and home sequence. The Canes just broke up a three game losing streak with a 5-3 win against Dallas on Wednesday night. The Panthers have won three of their last four, with the loss coming in overtime to Pittsburgh.
The teams have split games against each other this year as Carolina blasted Florida 7-2 early in the season but the Panthers evened things up with a 3-0 shutout in November. The Canes bring in a 1-12-4 road record with them.
The Hurricanes have had a dismal season for the most part, but there is some good news. The team's 28th ranked powerplay has shown signs of life recently and the club has been scoring goals with the man advantage at a fairly good clip. In the past six games, the team is 6 of 20 for 30%.
But even with this success, Carolina remains at 28th in the league with a 15.9% ratio for the season.
The Hurricanes still have plenty of health issues to deal with. Tim Gleason and Niclas Wallin both stayed home for this short trip and will not play tonight. The same lineup will be on the ice at Sunrise which played against Dallas at the RBC. Bryan Rodney, Brett Carson, and Jay Harrison will have at least one more game to showcase their skills.
The word is that Wallin and Gleason could both play tomorrow night in Raleigh. Erik Cole, Joe Corvo, and Chad LaRose remain out.
Look for the forward lines to be the same as Wednesday night:
- Staal, Whitney, Ruutu
- Cullen, Jokinen, Samsonov
- Sutter, Kostopoulos, Dwyer
- Yelle, Brind`Amour, Walker
Cam Ward will be starting in net and could very well play in both of these back-to-back games. Tomas Vokoun will probably start for Florida tonight. (unconfirmed).
|2009 - Cam Ward||18||1009||3||10||51||3.03||503||452||.899||0|
|2009 - Tomas Vokoun||27||1583||9||10||69||2.62||895||826||.923||3|
The Panthers are led in scoring by Nathan Horton, who finally seems to be coming into his own. The power forward, who was drafted immediately after Eric Staal in the 2003 draft, has never quite lived up to expectations. That has all changed so far this year.
|2009 - Nathan Horton||35||11||23||34||8||28||5||1||2||0||78||14.1|
Ex-Hurricane and fan favorite, Cory Stillman is injured and is not expected back until after Christmas. David Booth reportedly has been skating, but is still out with concussion like symptoms.
For more information about the Panthers, check out our old Whalers buddy at Litter Box Cats.
Ray Whitney still leads the Canes with 23 points while Tuomo Ruutu is right behind with 22. Eric Staal is heating up and has points in three straight games and has scored 13 points in the last 10.
Both of these games this weekend will be televised locally with tonight's game on HD TV. Tonight the puck will drop at 7:30, tomorrow night at 7. Of course, 99.9 The Fan will have the Stormfront and the Aftermath before and after each game.