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Carolina Hurricanes vs Vegas Golden Knights: Lineups and Game Discussion

Can the Canes maintain the momentum from an outstanding January as they begin the second half of the season?

Jamie Kellner

Oh hey, hockey. We missed you.

The Carolina Hurricanes begin the second half (figuratively speaking) of the season seeking to avenge a shutout loss suffered on Nov. 3 at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Canes aren’t in a playoff position #fornow, but they’re at least in the discussion, and hopeful the momentum from their successful western Canada road trip allows them to pick up from where they left off in January.

Tonight’s lineup won’t deviate much from the lineup they attempted to ice in their last three games before Micheal Ferland suffered an upper body concern that sidelined him during the trip. He’ll return to the top line with Justin Williams, anchored by All Star extraordinaire Sebastian Aho.

Haydn Fleury was recalled yesterday, then sent back to Charlotte today to play for the Checkers tonight. Petr Mrazek will start in net, and Curtis McElhinney will return to back up after missing the road trip with a lower body concern.

Both the Canes and Golden Knights are returning from their bye weeks. After missing seven games with an undisclosed injury, forward Reilly Smith appears ready to return to the lineup, skating this morning with William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault. After practice, head coach Gerard Gallant reported Smith to be a game-time decision. If he’s unable to rejoin the roster, Brandon Pirri will likely take his spot and Oscar Lindberg will draw in. Defenseman Nick Holden is not on the trip with the team; he was placed on injured reserve today in order to make room for Smith’s return. Vegas also recalled Jake Bischoff yesterday and he may claim Jon Merrill’s spot on defense. Fresh off his All Star Game appearance, Marc-Andre Fleury will get an extra day’s rest, and Maxime Lagace will start in net tonight.

Last but not least, forward Valentin Zykov is expected to be in the lineup tonight to face his former team. Zykov was claimed off waivers by the Golden Knights on Dec. 29 and has played in one previous game for them. Canes Country alumnus Cory Lavalette had a lot to report about Zykov in his weekly Category 5 series for North State Journal, and it makes for a good pre-game read.

Hurricanes Projected Lineup

Nino NiederreiterSebastian Aho – Justin Williams
Micheal FerlandLucas WallmarkTeuvo Teravainen
Andrei SvechnikovJordan MartinookBrock McGinn
Warren FoegeleGreg McKeggSaku Maenalanen

Jaccob SlavinDougie Hamilton
Brett PesceJustin Faulk
Calvin de Haan – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Petr Mrazek
Curtis McElhinney

Injuries and Scratches: Jordan Staal (upper body; injured reserve)

Golden Knights Projected Lineup

Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson – Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty - Paul StastnyAlex Tuch
Brandon Pirri – Cody EakinRyan Carpenter
Tomas Nosek – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Ryan Reaves

Brayden McNabbNate Schmidt
Shea TheodoreDeryk Engelland
Jon Merrill – Colin Miller

Maxime Lagace
Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries and Scratches: Jake Bischoff (healthy), William Carrier (IR undisclosed), Erik Haula (IR knee), Nick Holden (undisclosed), Oscar Lindberg (healthy), Malcolm Subban (IR illness)