With more than a week between the final preseason game and the season opener, the Hurricanes’ lineup tonight will be no surprise for anyone who’s watched practice over the last week. Of the three rookies to make the opening night roster, only Martin Necas will be in the press box tonight; Janne Kuokkanen and Haydn Fleury will make their NHL debuts tonight.
Of course, if they were playing against the Hurricanes, they’d be easy money to score their first goals tonight, but since they’re playing their first games for the Canes, who knows?
Bill Peters finally ended the speculation about his starting goaltender on Thursday, giving Scott Darling the start in his first regular-season game at PNC Arena. Elsewhere, things are as expected for the Canes, and here’s how they’ll line up:
Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Teuvo Teravainen - Victor Rask - Justin Williams
Jeff Skinner - Derek Ryan - Janne Kuokkanen
Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratches: Josh Jooris, Martin Necas, Klas Dahlbeck (all healthy)
As for the Wild, they arrived in Raleigh after a season-opening loss to the Red Wings on Thursday night. In a sight all too familiar to Hurricanes fans, the Wild are trotting out their backup goaltender tonight, Alex Stalock getting his first start of the year after starting only twice all of last season.
The Wild will be running with seven defensemen after Mikael Granlund aggravated an injury on Thursday in Detroit. Granlund hasn’t missed a game in either of the past two seasons, so it’s a big blow to a lineup that’s already missing Zach Parise with a back injury. With only eighteen healthy skaters and a salary number bumping up against the cap, the Wild needs all hands on deck, so the plan is to double-shift a winger on the fourth line and rotate three defenders through the third pairing.
Here’s how they’ll look:
Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno - Mikko Koivu - Tyler Ennis
Jason Zucker - Joel Eriksson Ek - Chris Stewart
Daniel Winnik - Matt Cullen - ???????
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba
Mike Reilly - Kyle Quincey - Gustav Olofsson
Scratches: Mikael Granlund (lower-body), Zach Parise (back)