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Joni Pitkanen Returns: Panthers At Hurricanes, Game Day Preview

The Carolina Hurricanes recently activated Joni Pitkanen and the defenseman will play tonight as the Canes take on the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers at PNC Arena.

Pitkanen has missed the last 44 games because of various injuries, including a concussion. He has missed a total of 52 games this season.

The Canes still have not given up on the playoffs, though they are currently seven points behind the eighth place Washington Capitals. They have yet to beat the Panthers this season, (0-2-2), but both teams are on recent winning streaks. The Hurricanes have won three in a row and the Kats have won five games in a row.

According to various reports, Pitkanen will be paired with Jamie McBain to start out with and the popular Finns/Skinns line will be reunited now that Jeff Skinner is back from suspension. Look for the following lines:

  • Tlusty, Staal, LaRose
  • Ruutu, Jokinen, Skinner
  • Bowman, Sutter, Dwyer
  • Stewart, Brent, Joslin
  • Allen, Gleason
  • Harrison, Faulk
  • McBain, Pitkanen

Scott Clemmensen got the win for Florida against Philadelphia last night, meaning that Cam Ward will most likely be facing Jose Theodore in net tonight.

2011 - Cam Ward 61 3564 26 21 165 2.78 1901 1736 .913 4

2011 - Jose Theodore 46 2620 22 13 104 2.38 1299 1195 .920 3

The Panthers will look to extend their longest winning streak of the season. For more info about them, check out Litter Box Cats and On Frozen Pond.

Tim Brent has the longest current Carolina scoring streak with points in the last four games. Chad LaRose has goals in three straight. Eric Staal is still the man though and has 42 points in his last 34 games.

The Canes are 5-2-2 in their last nine games and have earned points in 13 of their last 16 at home.

Tonight's game will not be televised locally. Listen to Chuck Kaiton on 99.9 The Fan or watch on Center Ice. Brian and I will be reporting live from press row starting at 6:30 with our Open Game Thread and Live blog.

Quick Links:

In case you missed it from last week, Dave Droschak caught up with former Hurricane, Stu "The Grim Reaper" Grimson.

"The Grim Reaper" part 1

Another Droschak article worth a look:

Do the Hurricanes need an enforcer?

Some great stuff here from our friends at Illegal Curve. At the beginning of the postgame Eric Staal interview, you can hear teammates ribbing Staal with the "Jordan's Better" derisive chant that Jets fans were showering the Carolina Captain with. That is anyway, up until his two goals scored.

Eric replied, "Jordan is good, but I'm not sure he's better."

Jordan's Better?

Finally, Lyle Richardson offers his take of what the Hurricanes need. You guessed it, a skilled winger to play on the Staal line. The question is, who do they get and where do they find him?

Carolina Hurricanes rumor control...(The Hockey News)