It’s Opening Night for the Hurricanes, and this year, it’s in the Triangle.
Opening Night. The wait is over. Hockey is here. Thank you for your passion and loyalty Canes fans, looking forward to an amazing atmosphere in Raleigh tonight.— Tom Dundon (@TDCanes) October 4, 2018
Year 1 under Rod Brind’Amour begins tonight at PNC Arena against the Islanders, a group that lost John Tavares in the offseason, but still has scoring threats like Mathew Barzal and newly-minted captain Anders Lee to give defenses problems.
Thankfully, our defensive pairings look to be some of the strongest in the East, led by Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton, one of the promising defensive additions alongside former Islander Calvin de Haan, who will man the second pairing with Justin Faulk. This year marks the first since 2011 that Faulk hasn’t started in the top pairing on Opening Night with Carolina.
At forward, it appears that the team is going to make 2018 Draft pick Andrei Svechnikov prove himself in his debut. He’ll start on the fourth line with Jordan Martinook and Lucas Wallmark, but he should get plenty of opportunity to see power play time thanks to his superb shooting and skating ability.
The TSA top line is now the ... FAT line? (Maybe that won’t stick.) Jordan Staal is bumped down to what will likely be a fairly physical second line, winged by Warren Foegele and captain Justin Williams. While it may feel like a debut of sorts for Martin Necas, he skated for 6:54 in a game last season. Expect him to find more time than that tonight on the third line.
Quick pause for beautiful locker room shot:
Everything is in its place #Canes pic.twitter.com/ivLoNNid9D— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) October 4, 2018
With Scott Darling out for possibly a couple of weeks, Petr Mrazek starts in goal, and new waiver addition Curtis McElhinney provides an experienced backup option.
Here’s how we expect to see the Canes take the ice tonight:
Micheal Ferland- Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Brock McGinn - Martin Necas - Valentin Zykov
Jordan Martinook- Lucas Wallmark - Andrei Svechnikov
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk
Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brett Pesce
Scratches: Phil Di Giuseppe (healthy), Haydn Fleury (healthy), Scott Darling (lower body; injured reserve), Victor Rask (hand; injured non-roster)
The Islanders may not see as much of top liner Josh Bailey as they’d like tonight due to some lower-back tightness that kept him out of practice this morning, but according the Andrew Gross of Newsday, Barry Trotz said there’s a “0.0” percent chance of Bailey being held off the ice for the whole game.
He was also named one of the Isles’ alternate captains today, alongside Cal Clutterbuck and Andrew Ladd.
Otherwise, it’s Thomas Greiss in net, and morning skate went this way for the Islanders, though Bailey’s status may be in question to start the top line:
Anthony Beauvillier - Mathew Barzal - Josh Bailey
Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Jordan Eberle
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Leo Komarov - Valtteri Filppula - Tanner Fritz
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Thomas Hickey - Nick Leddy
Luca Sbisa - Johnny Boychuk