January 9, 2014 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - Fox Sports
Radio - 99.9 The Fan
Hurricanes Record: 18-16-9 (45 pts.)
Maple Leafs Record: 21-18-5 (47 pts.)
The Hurricanes have had games canceled due to inclement weather before. In the past it has been due to snow and ice in Raleigh. On Tuesday the Canes game in Buffalo, New York of all places was canceled due to snow and near white out conditions. Unfortunately for NHL fans the postponement ruined the chance to see the Canes put their four game winning streak on the line against the Sabres five game home winning streak.
Fortunately for Canes fans Thursday night offers the chance to see an equally exciting mid-season game. The Toronto Maple Leafs come to town two points ahead of the Canes in the standings and occupying the final playoff spot. Toronto, who has played one more game than the Hurricanes, started out the season white hot, but have since cooled considerably. The Canes, who have had their own issues with consistency, have the ability to leap frog the Leafs with a regulation win Thursday night and take control of the final playoff spot in the eastern conference.
The Canes are right now playing some of their best hockey of the season led by Jeff Skinner. Skinner's recent play earned him NHL First Star of the Week honors last week. Skinner has managed to score 6 goals and 3 assists in the last 4 games while at the same time being a +6 on the ice.
The Maple Leafs are led by Olympians Phil Kessel and James Van Riemsdyk and Captain Dion Phaneuf who has recently signed a 7-year $49 million dollar contract extension. In net the recently acquired Jonathan Bernier is getting the bulk of the starts. Bernier has been shaky of late, giving up 9 goals on 65 goals in the last two games. James Reimer is the back up for Toronto, and he has been solid in net when given the chance. His 0.923 sv% is just three points behind Bernier and good enough for 10th best in the league for goalies who have played more than 15 games.
Thursday's game will be the third and final game this year between the Hurricanes and the Maple Leafs, and the first played outside of the Air Canada Center. The first game on October 7th saw the Canes score three unanswered third period goals to erase a 2 goal deficit and win 3-2. That game was most notable for the crazy goal scored by Ron Hainsey who managed to clear a puck down the ice and bounce if off the end boards, off of Bernier and in to the net for the game winner. The two teams also met just a few days ago on December 29th, a game the Leafs won 5-2. That was the last game the Canes lost prior to their current winning streak.
Canes Recall Elias Lindholm
On Wednesday the Canes made an expected roster move and recalled center Elias Lindholm to the main roster. Lindholm had spent the past few weeks playing for the Swedish National Team at the World Junior Championships. Lindholm was a crucial piece of the Swedish team that was able to make it all the way to the championship game before coming up just short to hosting Finnish team. To make room on the roster the Canes returned Aaron Palushaj to the Checkers. The press release is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Jan. 8, 2014
CAROLINA HURRICANES RECALL ELIAS LINDHOLM
Forward had nine points in six games at World Junior Championship
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled forward Elias Lindholm. Lindholm had been reassigned to the Swedish team for the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Junior Championship, held in Malmo, Sweden. To make room for Lindholm on the roster, the team assigned forward Aaron Palushaj to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Lindholm, 19, scored two goals and added seven assists (9 points) in six games during the tournament, helping Sweden capture the silver medal. The Boden, Sweden, native ranked second among Swedish skaters in assists (7) and points (9), behind only tournament most valuable player Filip Forsberg. Carolina’s first-round selection, fifth overall, in the 2013 NHL Draft, Lindholm has played 21 NHL games for Carolina this season, totaling seven points (3g, 4a).
As always we will have the the game thread open 30 minutes before the game begins. Go Canes!