The Carolina Hurricanes are set to have a special night against the Chicago Blackhawks, with longtime franchise star and Stanley Cup champion Cam Ward in net for Chicago — the first time he’s played at PNC arena in an opposing jersey.
Unfortunately, once the puck is dropped, the Hurricanes will need to do everything they can to put puck after puck past Ward, as they are 1-4-2 in the past seven games and need to get a win at home.
Speaking of pucks and nets, Scott Darling (1-2-1, 3.00 GAA) will get his third consecutive start. He saved 29 of 32 shots against the Red Wings on Saturday before losing in a shootout, and despite some big-time saves, he’ll need to make some of the more routine saves that he missed last time out.
For the Canes, Brett Pesce will be sidelined with a lower-body injury, which is listed as day-to-day. With that absence, the defensive pairings switch back to how they’ve looked for much of the season, including the Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton top duo.
On the forward front, the Gritty Guys — Warren Foegele and Brock McGinn — will switch assignments. Here’s how things should shake up, at least to begin the game:
Brock McGinn -Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Micheal Ferland - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Warren Foegele - Clark Bishop - Phil Di Giuseppe
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk
Haydn Fleury - Trevor van Riemsdyk
The Blackhawks are having a ton of woes on their side of things. With a new coach and a seven-game losing streak, they’re hoping to change the pace and get a point or two.
However, they’re also set back with injuries. Brandon Saad is a game-time decision for the Blackhawks with a right-arm injury, while former Hurricane Marcus Kruger will not play in his less-meaningful-than-Cam return to PNC Arena due to a leg injury.
As mentioned earlier, Ward gets the start (and probably a tribute or two). He’s 3-2-3, but holds a 3.93 GAA and .887 save percentage.
Here’s what to expect from Chicago:
Nick Schmaltz - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Alexandre Fortin - Artem Anisimov - John Hayden
Alex DeBrincat - David Kampf - Dominik Kahun
Chris Kunitz - Luke Johnson - Andreas Martinsen
Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Erik Gustafsson - Henri Jokiharju
Brandon Davidson - Jan Rutta