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Carolina Hurricanes at the St. Louis Blues: Going for Four

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The Carolina Hurricanes (3-2-1) resume their October road trip in St Louis tonight. The Blues (2-4) are back at home after a 4-game West coast trip with only one win in the mix. It concluded Tuesday vs the Los Angeles Kings where the team took an ugly 5-0 loss.

In contrast, the Canes enjoyed an extra day in St. Louis following a wild and gratifying win over the Bruins in Boston on Tuesday. Only 6 games into the new season, they have reversed the early momentum to win the last three. Last year, we didn't see a 3-game win streak until Game 30 on December 16th. The last time the Hurricanes won more than 3 in a row was in 2010, when they put together a 5+2 win streak around the break for the Vancouver Olympics.

Coach Paul Maurice indicated yesterday that Cam Ward will be starting his 6th game of the season. The rest of the roster remains the same, and 7th defenseman Derek Joslin will be a healthy scratch. With another game tomorrow night in Manitoba, the coach hinted that he was leaning toward giving Brian Boucher his second start vs the struggling Winnipeg Jets.

Tonight, St Louis coach Davis Payne might go with back-up goaltender Brian Elliott, familiar to Canes fans from his days as an Ottawa Senator. Elliott was the starter in the Blues' 4-2 win over San Jose Saturday. Number 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak has struggled so far, surrendering 8 goals in his last 5 periods in goal.

**UPDATED: Brian Elliot will start (per @jprutherford, St Louis Post-Dispatch)

Like the Canes, the Blues also fly out of St Louus after the game, as they will be in Philadelphia tomorrow night to face the Flyers.


GP MIN W L GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2011-12: Cam Ward   5 299 3 2 14 2.81 163 149 .914 0
2011-12: Brian Elliott 2 80 1 0 3 2.25 42 39 .929 0
2011-12: Jaroslav Halak 5 277 1 4 16 3.47 97 81 .835 0


The Hurricanes lines should look like they did in Boston.

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen - Tuomo Ruutu
Jiri Tlusty - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Brett Sutter - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

 

No changes expected on the backend either. 

Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain
Tomas Kaberle - Jay Harrison

 

Zac Dalpe is week-to-week, so recently recalled Brett Sutter remains on the fourth line. Will he and Anthony Stewart get more than 6 minutes TOI tonight after their notable contributions in the win over Boston? 

Audio of Paul Maurice following the skate this morning. [1:36]

 

St. Louis

For St.Louis, they enjoyed some good news  when David Perron skated with the team for the first time in nearly a year yesterday. He has been out since last November with a concussion. He is not yet ready to play. However, the Blues top Centerman, Andy McDonald suffered a concussion in Dallas October 13th and is now on the injured reserve. Winger B.J. Crombeen is also out with shoulder injury. 

According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, look for this line up from the Blues coach:

Vladimir Sobotka - David Backes - Chris Stewart 
Chris Porter - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie
Alexander Steen - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner

The fourth line has some options:
Matt D`Agostini - Evgeny Grachev - Scott Nichol / Ryan Reaves

 

Defensemen Barret Jackman, Kent Huskins, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Pietrangelo, Roman Polak, Nikita Nikitin are in for the Blues, though Carlo Colaiacovo may be ready to return from a head injury. 

**UPDATE: From @jprutherford: Looks like Nikitin, Reaves and Chorney are scratches Colaiacovo is in.

 

Stats and notes

Carolina hasn't lost in St. Louis since Jan. 5, 2008, nearly four years ago.

Point streaks: Pitkanen has 5 points in his last 3 games. Jokinen and Brent also have 3-game point streaks.

Gleason and Allen have now played 3 full games without yielding a goal against.


Game previews and links

 

Must readBig day for Stewart family as brothers finally face off - NHL.com Anthony Stewart of the Hurricanes will face Chris Stewart of the Blues in the first on-ice battle between the two brothers.

This morning's N&O print edition: All fists on deck for Canes - Chip Alexander, NewsObserver.com

The Hurricanes have guys who are willing to fight. Gleason obviously will go. So will Allen and defenseman Jay Harrison. But as the Canes proved against the Bruins, they seem to know when to fight and when not to.

"None of those three men have to prove that they can do it," Canes coach Paul Maurice said Thursday. "That has a lot to do with it.

From yesterday's practice: Canes expecting another physical game - Canes Now "St. Louis, to me, has some nice size and has some good size on the back end," Maurice said. "They didn't like their performance in (Los Angeles) and they're going to come out biting. It's going to be a good banging game."

Wondering how the Finns felt about their World Series experience Wednesday? Jokinen takes in Series game, again - CanesNow Who knew Jussi Jokinen had been to a World Series game before Wednesday? Or that he finds American baseball, dare we say it, a bit boring at times?

The odd couple - Matt Karash, HockeyBuzz.com After 6 games, Gleason and Allen have become defense partners. And they have been flat out good. Not just Carolina Hurricanes good, but NHL in total good.

 

For the latest on the Blues, check in with  the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and our SBN affiliate St. Louis Game Time.

 

Your guide to the evening

  • Game time is 8pm Eastern. We'll have our game thread open for business at 7:30.
  • FSCarolinas' Bob Harwood will host the televised pre-game show at 7:30 as well, with John Forslund and Tripp Tracey in the booth during the game.
  • On the radio or streaming, as always it'll be Mike Maniscalco at 7:30, leading off on 99.9 the Fan before Chuck Kaiton calls the game.