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Hurricanes at Senators: Game Preview 3-31-14

The Hurricanes close out March tonight in Canada's capital.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes at Ottawa Senators
March 31, 2014 - 7:30 pm ET
Canadian Tire Centre - Ottawa, ON
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 The Fan

SB Nation Rival Blog: Silver Seven Sens

Hurricanes Record: 32-32-10 | 74 pts | 7th Metro | 13th EC
Senators Record: 31-29-14 | 76 pts | 6th Atlantic | 12th EC

Post-Season Picture:
Games Remaining: 8
Estimated Points Needed: 92
Points Back: 18 (unpossible)
Playoff Chances (Sports Club Stats): 0.4%
Tragic Number: 9

Team line combinations: [Senators] [Hurricanes]

The Hurricanes and Senators have met twice this season, both times in Raleigh, and both times the Canes emerged victorious. The two teams have been on similar trajectories for much of the season; sniffing the playoff discussion at times but ultimately unable to put together a strong enough run and now all but mathematically eliminated.

The Senators are playing their second game in a back-to-back series tonight. They were successful on the front side of that effort, defeating the Flames 6-3 yesterday [recap on]. They now have points in four straight games (3-0-1).

Kyle Turris and Milan Michalek scored two goals in last night's win. Michalek now has 15 points in his last 18 games. Erik Karlsson also picked up an assist in the game, giving him 50 assists for the season along with 20 goals (the first defenseman since Brian Leetch in 2000-01 to accomplish that feat).

Jason Spezza has 38 points in 33 games against the Hurricanes.

Robin Lehner had a 37-save effort in the win. With the back-to-back scenario, Craig Anderson could see the start tonight. Anderson is 5-2-4 with a 2.50 GAA in twelve career games against the Canes.

Bobby Ryan will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing hernia surgery on Thursday.

The Hurricanes are playing in their 19th of 20 sets of back-to-back games this season. After tonight's game they will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins tomorrow night. They are 9-8-1 in the first game of a back-to-back and 5-10-3 in the second game.

Newcomer Andrei Loktionov has six points (3g, 3a) in his last six games and has points in three straight. For more on his recent success, Michael Smith caught up with him yesterday for Tracking The Storm [].

Jeff Skinner is also on a hot streak with points in four straight games. Eric Staal (15g, 22a, 37 games) and Alexander Semin (13g, 15a, 24 games) are both point-per-game players against Ottawa.

The Canes will not have a practice or media availability prior to the game tonight. They did practice in Raleigh yesterday before traveling to Ottawa. There were no line-up changes in yesterday's practice. Cam Ward practiced in the starter crease and is probable for tonight's game. [post-practice audio from Kirk Muller].

Congratulations to Manny Malhotra, who was chosen yesterday as the Hurricanes' nominee for the 2014 Masterton Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL player who best demonstrates perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.  Malhotra was also a nominee in 2012 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

Read more here:

We'll have the game thread ready to roll by 7:00 pm. See you there.