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Youth Will Be Served: Hurricanes at Predators, Game Day Preview

Carolina Hurricanes winger Jiri Tlusty skating through practice at the Rec Zone on January 6, 2010. (photo by LTD)

The Carolina Hurricanes, (11-23-7) are in Nashville, Tennessee to take on the Predators, (25-15-3) tonight in a game starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.  For those of you who have been hoping for the team to get younger, you should be very happy with tonight's lineup. 

Jerome Samson, Jiri Tlusty, Zach Boychuk, Patrick Dwyer, and Brett Carson, each of them players who spent considerable time in the minor leagues this season, will all be on the ice tonight at the Sommet Center.   Samson, who was leading the Albany River Rats in scoring, (30 points in 38 games), will be making his NHL debut.

Just as a reminder, several familiar faces are out of the lineup for the Canes.  Eric Staal, (leave of absence), Sergei Samsonov, (day to day, upper body injury), Scott Walker, (shoulder surgery, out for 4-6 weeks), Erik Cole, (upper body injury, could be back next week), Chad LaRose, (lower body injury, could be back next week), and Joe Corvo, (lacerated calf, projected out another 4 weeks), did not make the trip.

The coaching staff is mixing the youth in with the veterans within the lines.  But coach Paul Maurice maintains that the lines will be fluid and subject to change at anytime throughout the game.  Chip Alexander "Tweeted" from the morning skate that the lines were skating as follows:

  • Cullen, Whitney, Ruutu
  • Sutter, Jokinen, Tlusty
  • Dwyer, Kostopoulos, Boychuk
  • Yelle, Brind'Amour, (Samson, was not yet at the morning skate)

The defense remains the same as previous games.  Pitkanen, Gleason, Alberts, Ward, Wallin, and Carson will be mixed and matched. 

Cam Ward will be in net.  Will he also play in tomorrow night's game back in Raleigh?  That is yet to be determined.  The Carolina goalie has been playing better lately and has a 2-1-1 record with a save percentage of .931 and a GAA of 2.18 GAA in his last four starts.

The Preds have been rotating goalies and according to "On the Forecheck" will be starting young Finnish star, Pekka Rinne tonight.

2009 - Cam Ward 26 1431 6 14 72 3.02 726 654 .901 0

2009 - Pekka Rinne 28 1532 16 7 70 2.74 746 676 .906 2


Dirk, Chris, and company do a great job over at the Pred's blog.  I recently answered a couple of questions for them regarding the Canes which they published in an article yesterday.  

They also report that the Nashville lines for tonight will be the following:

  • Sullivan - Arnott - Hornqvist
  • Ward - Legwand - Thuresson - Guite
  • Jones - Goc - Dumont
  • Spaling - Santorelli - Guite


  • Suter - Weber
  • Hamhuis - Klein
  • Bouillon - Franson

Needless to say, the Nashville defense is top notch. 

While the Hurricanes have won two games in a row on the road, they remain in last place in the league and have a lot of digging to do, to get out.  The team is 4-5-1 in their last 10 games while the Preds are 6-4-0. 

The Canes are 4-6-1-1 lifetime against the Preds and have not won in the Sommet Center since December, 2002.  They are 1-5-0 lifetime on Nashville's home ice.

Ray Whitney has a three game point streak and Joni Pitkanen has scored in two straight for Carolina.  

The game will be broadcast by Fox Sports Carolinas starting at 8 Eastern.  Mike Maniscalco and 99.9 The Fan will start up with the Stormfront at 7:30.