The Florida Panthers, (17-17-2) are in town and will do battle with the Carolina Hurricanes, (18-15-4) tonight at the RBC. This is a showdown between two teams currently on an uptick.
The Canes have won three games in a row and are 7-3-0 in their last 10. The Panthers are coming off a big win against New York last night and are 4-2-1 in their last 7, as well as 5-3-2 in their last 10.
Carolina is in ninth place in the conference, five points behind Montreal and out of a playoff spot. They need a win tonight to keep them within striking distance of the Habs, plus to keep the pesky Panthers safely behind them.
Tomas Vokoun pitched a shutout last night. We have seen conflicting reports and don't know for sure whether he will get the nod again tonight, or if Scott Clemmensen will play. If we get an update regarding that, we'll post it in the comments here.
No matter who starts for the Kitties, Cam Ward will be in net for the Canes. The All Star hopeful continues to build on his remarkable hot streak. Over the past 17 games, he has a GAA of 1.95 and save percentage of .943.
The Hurricanes lineup should be the same as it was against the Devils on Saturday night.
- Staal, Samsonov, Cole
- Sutter, Dwyer, Boychuk
- Skinner, Ruutu, LaRose
- Carter, Dalpe, Bodie
- Gleason, Corvo
- Harrison, White
- Carson, McBain
It was reported after the skate this morning that Jussi Jokinen will probably be ready to play in New York on Wednesday night. What happens with the lineup then? That's why Paul Maurice makes the big bucks.
Carolina is still led by Eric Staal, who has 37 points in 37 games, but Tuomo Ruutu has jumped into a tie with Jeff Skinner for second on the team in scoring. The Finn is streaking and has points, (2G 6A) in four straight games.
|2010 - Eric Staal||37||18||19||37||-5||30||7||1||4||135|
|2010 - Jeff Skinner||37||11||17||28||-1||12||2||0||1||95|
|2010 - Tuomo Ruutu||37||9||19||28||-5||26||4||0||1||66|
Stephen Weiss leads Florida in scoring, (12G 12A), followed by Michael Frolik, (8G 15A), and David Booth, (10G 10A).
For more info, Hockeymom's updated Game Guide is ready for printing.
Canes Country's Game Guide: Hurricanes vs Panthers Jan 3
For more about the Panthers, say hi to our friend, Donny over at Litter Box Cats.
The Canes might have a bit of an advantage since they are coming off a night's rest where the Panthers played last night and traveled. Although keep in mind, Carolina won it's last game under those circumstances in Ottawa.
The Hurricanes are 2-1 against the Cats so far this season and have an unbelievable 25-5-2 home record against this team since the RBC opened it's doors for the 1999-2000 campaign.
Due to the NHL's contract agreement with Versus, there is no official television broadcast of this game in the states. (Canes Vision will release the jumbotron feed so Canadian audiences can watch on Center Ice.) I've ranted about how ridiculous this is before, but it is what it is. Versus is showing the Kings against the Blackhawks.
If we find an online feed, we will post that info in the Open Game Thread comments. I'll be Tweeting and posting in the OGT from press row starting at 6:30.