Carolina Hurricanes vs Phoenix Coyotes
October 16, 2013 - 1:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh NC
TV - SportsSouth Radio - 99.9 The Fan
SB Nation Rival Blog: Five for Howling (Twitter @ Five4Howling)
Hurricanes Record: 2-1-2 (6 pts.)
Coyotes Record: 3-2-0 (6 pts.)
PROGRAMMING NOTE: As Jamie noted previously the next several Hurricanes games will be broadcast on SportsSouth alternative channels instead of on Fox Sports Carolinas. Please make note of the channels as they'll apply for today 's game as well as many others in October. The Canes have a channel guide for the viewing area on their Broadcast page.
The Phoenix Coyotes come to town as the Canes play their fifth game in eight days. The Canes are coming off a hard fought 2-1 shootout loss to the western conference powerhouse Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes are coming in having won their last two games, and looking to finish their early season four game east-coast swing on a high note.
Today's game will actually be the first of two meetings this season between the Canes and the Yotes. These two teams will meet each other again on December 14th in Phoenix.
This is the first meeting between the two teams since December 21, 2011. The Coyotes won that game 4-3 with the help of Lauri Korpikoski, Ray Whitney, and Jason LaBarbera.
Phoenix's top scorers on the year are Martin Hanzal, former Cane Radim Vrbata, and Derek Morris. The Coyotes power play is 2 for 15 so far on the season which puts them at #22 in the league as of now. The Coyotes find themselves at #24 in the league on the kill having yielded 5 goals on 20 attempts so far this season. Hard to draw too much of a conclusion from such a limited sample size, but it does look like special teams could be a critical piece of the Canes game plan. Does this mean Ryan Murphy finds himself back in the line up after sitting against the Kings?
As Cory mentioned in his analysis the Canes are currently tied for 27th in the league when it comes to winning faceoffs. As of now the Canes are winning 43.5% of their draws which puts them ahead of only former Southeast Division foes Florida and Winnipeg and tied with new division foe New Jersey Devils. Faceoffs is an area of the game that has plagued the team since the retirement of Rod Brind'Amour. Things don't look very promising though for today as the Coyotes come in with a winning percentage of 54.2%. Players like Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Riley Nash are going to have to up their game.
The Canes are going through one of their rougher patches in the schedule now. Since opening night the Canes have not had more than one night off after a game. Unfortunately for the Canes that trend continues until next Saturday at which point the Canes will have three days off between the Islanders on the 19th and the Wild on the 24th. While there have been rough patches so far the Canes seem to be doing a good job of weathering this storm the schedule makers made for them. It's going to be critical for the Canes to continue to rack up as many points as possible to keep from starting the season in an early hole and to give them the best springboard for moving up the standings once the schedule begins to work in their favor a bit more.
No info yet on the lineups or starting goaltenders for the game today. Their will be at least one change to the Canes lineup as Chip Alexander (@ice_Chip) is reporting that rookie Elias Lindholm will miss today's game due to an upper-body injury. At practice Nash moved up to play with Skinner and Radek Dvorak. The fourth line was Drayson Bowman, Brett Sutter, and Kevin Westgarth. Tuomo Ruutu was skating with a fourth line jersey on and according to Chip Alexander as of mid-afternoon Saturday there is no decision yet on his status. Is it possible Ruutu makes his season debut today? As that information becomes available we will try to update you.