Trade speculation has begun to swirl in Carolina as the recent three-game losing streak raises many of the familiar questions about whether the Hurricanes, as constructed, can remain in the thick of the playoff hunt. The first set of moves for the Canes took place yesterday as Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris both were placed on waivers. They have since cleared waivers and have been sent to AHL Charlotte.
Tonight should be a night in which Canes fans arrive confident, as the Vancouver Canucks visit for the only time this season. With the Canucks in the bottom tier of the Western Conference, and coming on the end of a back to back, the Canes know that they must take advantage of an opponent that they should beat on paper.
Some of that confidence will certainly be tested with the insertion of Scott Darling in net. Darling has been given the nod on the front end of what will be a back to back for Carolina, as the Canes look to jumpstart the other half of their goalie pairing for the stretch drive. Since his magnificent performance in a victory in Washington against the Capitals on January 11th, Darling has gone 0-3 with just an .855 save percentage in his three starts. The Canes will need to rely on him in some fashion if they are going to make a late push, perhaps tonight can be the start of a better run of play for the first-year Cane.
Here are the projected lines for tonight’s tilt for the Canes:
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Klas Dahlbeck - Justin Faulk
Noah Hanifin - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratches: Haydn Fleury
The Vancouver Canucks arrive in Raleigh on the heels of a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday evening. The Canucks were simply outclassed against the East-leading Lightning, as they carried a 4-0 deficit into the third period before clawing back into the game on the strength of goals by their leading scorer, rookie Brock Boeser, and Sven Baertschi.
The Canucks elected to play their typical backup netminder in Anders Nilsson in Tampa, saving starter Jacob Markstrom for tonight.
Here is how the Canucks are expected to come out in front of Jacob Markstrom:
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Brock Boeser
Jake Virtanen - Nic Dowd - Reid Boucher
Thomas Vanek - Henrik Sedin - Daniel Sedin
Loui Eriksson - Brandon Sutter - Markus Granlund
Alexander Edler - Troy Stecher
Ben Hutton - Erik Gudbranson
Michel Del Zotto - Chris Tanev