The Carolina Hurricanes, (12-12-4), continue on with their five game road trip tonight as they face the last place team in the division, the Florida Panthers, (13-15-0). This is the type of game the Hurricanes need to win if they want to make the jump out of the non-playoff group of teams, and into the playoff mix.
The Canes have had all kinds of trouble in south Florida though as they have lost four in a row and six out of their last seven at BankAtlantic Center. The last time they were in Sunrise on November 5, they lost, 7-4 in a very loose contest against the Panthers.
The team is presently down a defenseman. Jay Harrison left the contest early after a fight in St. Louis on Saturday night and has yet to be able to return to the ice. He will be replaced by Bryan Rodney. This will only be the fifth man game lost by the Canes this season, one of the lowest numbers in the league.
Rodney is captain of the Charlotte Checkers and has performed very well for the AHL team so far this season. He should see some powerplay time tonight, his forte.
Now 28 games down and one third of the way into the season, this Carolina club finds itself in 10th place in the conference and eight points out of a playoff spot. The team's overall stats pretty much indicate why they are positioned the way they are.
- Goals allowed, 2.96 average, 23rd in the league
- Goals scored, 2.71 average, 15th in the league
- Powerplay, 14.9%, 25th in the league
- Penalty kill, 79.6%, 25th in the league
- Shots on goal, 30.7 per game, 15th in the league
- Shots allowed, 34 per game, 27th in the league
The Hurricanes have yet to lose a game when they are leading after two periods, (8-0-0). They are 10-0-2 if they score the first goal of the game. On the other side of it, they are 2-12-2 if the other team scores first.
The team has spread out their scoring from period to period. They have scored 24 goals in the first period, 25 goals in the second, and 24 goals in the third. They have allowed 27 goals in the first period, 22 in the second, and 34 in the third.
They have yet to allow a goal in OT, and have scored twice in the extra period.
The team is currently mired in an 0-20 slump while on the powerplay and will be looking to break that ugly streak tonight.
Cam Ward will get the start and he has been brilliant in recent games. He'll be facing Tomas Vokoun at the other end of the rink.
Ward has a GAA of 1.5 and a save percentage of .953 in his last nine games. The Canes have earned points in seven of those nine, (4-2-3).
|2010 - Cam Ward||24||1406||12||9||59||2.52||787||728||.925||1|
|2010 - Tomas Vokoun||23||1307||11||11||53||2.43||673||620||.921||3|
Christopher Higgins and Bryan Allen both return to the ice for the Panthers. David Booth, Michael Frolik, and Stephen Weiss lead the home team in scoring.
For more informaton about Florida, check out our friends over at Litter Box Cats.
There have been Tweets this morning indicating that on defense the Canes will be pairing Rodney with Ian White, while Joni Pitkanen will be matched up with Jamie McBain. Tim Gleason and Joe Corvo will continue to be the "go to" pairing.
It seems like McBain has played with more confidence lately and this line change might indicate that the coaching staff feels the same way.
The forward lines will probably be the same as they were against the Blues.
- Staal, Skinner, Cole
- Sutter, Jokinen, Ruutu
- Dwyer, Tlusty, LaRose
- Carter, Samsonov, Bodie
This is game four of the current five game road trip. Carolina is 1-1-1 so far in the trip.
This is also the fourth consecutive back-to-back sequence for the team, as they will face Atlanta tomorrow night. If nothing else, they should be used to this scheduling. So far they are 4-1-3 in the first games of back-to-backs and 3-4-1 in the second games.
The match has a start time of 7:30 and will be televised locally by FS Carolinas. We will have the open game thread cranked up at 7 p.m.