The circus is in town, which means no ice at the RBC Center, so the Carolina Hurricanes have headed to the left coast for a late night match-up at 10:00 pm tonight against the Anaheim Ducks in the first game of a three-game road trip. This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The Canes won the only meeting of the 2010-11 season, 4-2, on December 18 in Raleigh.
The Ducks (20-24-8, 48 points) were a much-improved 9-2-1 in January but lost 2 games to start February before an eight-round shootout win against the Calgary Flames on Monday. Fans will see a familiar face behind the bench in Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, who joined the Ducks in November after losing his job with the division rival Washington Capitals.
The Hurricanes (20-25-9, 49 points) haven't played since Saturday, when they toughed it out in a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Chad LaRose will be returning to the line-up tonight after missing two games due to illness. He's expected to join a line with Tim Brent and Anthony Stewart, who was placed on waivers Monday and cleared yesterday.
Projected lines for both teams, courtesy of the Orange County Register:
For the Canes:
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Drayson Bowman - Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen
Andreas Nodl - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Chad LaRose - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart
Tim Gleason - Bryan Allen
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Jaroslav Spacek - Jamie McBain
Cam Ward (20-18-8, 2.76 GAA, .913 SV%) will be in net, backed up by Justin Peters.
Derek Joslin is expected to be the healthy extra. Joni Pitkanen (IR, concussion/knee) and Brian Boucher (IR, lower body) did not make the trip.
For the Ducks:
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Matt Beleskey - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Niklas Hagman - Rod Pelley - George Parros
Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank
Jonas Hiller (17-19-8, 2.82 GAA, .905) will get the start in goal.
For your listening pleasure, Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller (who is celebrating his 46th birthday today) spoke to the media after the morning skate (audio), as did Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau (video). The game will be televised on FSCarolinas and radio broadcast on 99.9 The Fan. For Ducks news, check out SBNation affiliate Anaheim Calling. We'll have the open game thread here starting at 9:30 pm. See you then.