Tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes will entertain the Washington Capitals in what will be the final match-up of the 2017-2018 pre-season. That’s right, tomorrow we will just be one short week away from the team’s regular season opener at home against the Minnesota Wild.
Bill Peters has described tonight’s game as somewhat of a dress rehearsal for that contest, so expect tonight’s lineup to mostly mirror what we’ll be seeing come next Saturday.
There are, however, a couple of injury situations that will require monitoring in advance of the regular season. Wingers Lee Stempniak and Teuvo Teravainen will not play tonight. Michael Smith of Carolina Hurricanes dot com speculates that in Teravainen’s case, this is likely a precautionary measure. Should that be true, expect Teravainen to draw in next Saturday.
For Stempniak, however, things don’t appear so fortunate. Peters told Cory Lavalette of the North State Journal that he doesn’t know the results of an MRI that Stempniak had last week. This is just me editorializing here, but that does not sound encouraging as it relates to Stempniak’s short-term availability.
However, Stempniak’s absence creates an opportunity for some younger forwards, chiefly Janne Kuokkanen and Martin Necas, who both have their last attempts to prove to the brass that they belong with this team tonight.
Here’s the projected lineup for Carolina:
Sebastian Aho - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Janne Kuokkanen - Victor Rask - Justin Williams
Jeff Skinner - Derek Ryan - Martin Necas
Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Trevor van Riemsdyk
If tonight is a dress rehearsal for the Hurricanes, it’s the auditions for the Capitals. After losing a lot of key depth contributors over the off-season, it seems like they want to gather as much information as possible on the potential replacements for players like Williams, Marcus Johansson, and Nate Schmidt.
The idea of protecting star players like Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov is probably pretty enticing too.
Here’s what it appears that the Capitals will be rolling out for tonight’s game:
Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Chiasson
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Tom Wilson
Tyler Graovac - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly
Nathan Walker - Chandler Stephenson - Brett Connolly
Dmitri Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Aaron Ness - Taylor Chorney
Christian Djoos - Madison Bowey