The Carolina Hurricanes, (30-34-9) just keep on getting younger and younger as they take on the visiting Washington Capitals, (49-14-10) tonight at the RBC. The Canes started the season as the oldest team in the NHL, but they are a far cry from that right now.
Tonight's game will be the third meeting in the last 15 days for the two teams, but it will also be their final matchup of the season.
Carolina is 2-1-2 in the previous five games against the best team in the NHL.
The Caps just played last night as they defeated the Penguins in a shootout. The Canes lost their last game in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night in overtime.
After the news was released yesterday that Tuomo Ruutu would require season ending shoulder surgery, the Canes recalled Drayson Bowman to take his spot and will get a good look at the former Memorial Cup winner. Bowman has been a scoring machine wherever he has played, so he probably will not be shy about taking shots.
Bowman joins other rookies, Jamie McBain, Brett Carson, and Zach Boychuk in joining the team a bit earlier than expected this season. Bryan Rodney, Jay Harrison, Patrick Dwyer, and Brandon Sutter also spent some time in the AHL during the year.
The coaching staff has shuffled the lines once again as Boychuk will be given the opportunity to play alongside Eric Staal. Paul Branecky has a good article about Boychuk's perspective here.
The lines should start out like the following:
- Staal, Boychuk, LaRose
- Sutter, Cole, Whitney
- Dwyer, Jokinen, Bowman
- Brind'Amour, Kostopoulos, Samsonov
- Pitkanen, Pothier
- McBain, Rodney
- Harrison, Carson
It is expected that Manny Legace will get the start in net.
Jose Theodore played for Washington last night, so Semyon Varlamov should get a chance for the Caps. For the low down on the Capitals, check out Japers' Rink.
The NHL announced today that they have instituted new blind side "head shot" rules which will be in affect starting tonight. Puck Daddy has more detail about that here. Interesting that the league could not wait until the end of the season to start this up. We will see what happens.
The game tonight will be telecast by FS Carolinas starting at 7. We will have the open game thread up and running at 6:30.