The Carolina Hurricanes will welcome Victor Rask back to the lineup for his season debut, as the center returns from missing the first 20 games of the season with a right-hand injury.
Coach Rod Brind’Amour will slot Rask in the middle with Warren Foegele and Phil Di Giuseppe (alongside whom Rask played for a good stretch a few seasons ago). Rask was not expected to return until sometime in December, but his rehab has continued to progress, and with the Canes in need of flexibility at center, Brind’Amour has elected to put the former 21-goal scorer back in the lineup immediately, with the team returning Clark Bishop to Charlotte in a corresponding move.
Brind’Amour will also turn back to former Maple Leaf Curtis McElhinney in net following his solid performance in the 2-1 win over the Devils on Sunday. Below is the projected Canes lineup:
Brock McGinn - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Micheal Ferland - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Warren Foegele - Victor Rask - Phil Di Giuseppe
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk
Haydn Fleury - Trevor van Riemsdyk
With Auston Matthews still on the shelf dealing with a shoulder injury, the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Maple Leafs may not enter Raleigh with a full arsenal, but they certainly have plenty of weapons at their disposal as they take on the Canes. Netminder Frederik Andersen will be back between the pipes sporting an NHL-best 12 wins on the season. His play, paired with an improving defense led by Morgan Rielly and a dynamic offense, has proven to be a recipe for tremendous success in the early going.
Coach Mike Babcock can wait patiently for a healthy Matthews as well as contract holdout William Nylander to return, as his squad has not missed a beat to this point. His lineup is projected as below:
Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Nazem Kadri - Kasperi Kapanen
Andreas Johnsson - Par Lindholm - Connor Brown
Tyler Ennis - Frederik Gauthier - Josh Leivo
Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott - Igor Ozhiganov