The Hurricanes will look to do something they haven’t been very successful at this season against the Florida Panthers tonight, and win the second game of a two-game series for the sweep after taking the first. Carolina is just 2-5-0 in those situations.
The Hurricanes come into this game a point back of the Chicago Blackhawks for third in the Central, and two back of the Panthers and Lightning for first place. The Canes will want to get this one in regulation to stop Florida from getting a point, as opposed to Saturday when they survived a late, game-tying goal before winning in the shootout.
Coming off back-to-back starts for James Reimer, Alex Nedeljkovic will make the start for Carolina tonight, according to Rod Brind’Amour. It will be an important game for him to make the case for staying the Canes’ goalie picture, as Petr Mrazek, who practiced with a stick in his hand for the first time since his thumb surgery over the weekend, is nearing a return. In his last two starts against Tampa Bay, Nedeljkovic picked up his first career shutout at PNC Arena and kept the Canes in the game in a 3-0 loss in Tampa.
Brind’Amour also said there would be no changes to the lineup from Saturday, meaning Jake Gardiner will miss his third game in a row.
Here’s how the Hurricanes will line up:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Jesper Fast
Brock McGinn - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Nino Niederreiter - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette - Steven Lorentz - Jordan Martinook
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Jake Bean
Injuries and scratches: Jake Gardiner (upper body), Petr Mrazek (right thumb), Teuvo Teravainen (concussion)
Taxi squad: Morgan Geekie, David Gust, Max McCormick, Joakim Ryan
Florida will be looking to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first this season, as coming into tonight the Panthers are 6-0-0 coming off a loss. Florida will get forward Noel Acciari, the team’s leader in blocks per 60 minutes and shorthanded ice time, back for the first time after missing the last eight games.
After Sergei Bobrovsky made each of the team’s last two starts, Chris Driedger will get the nod in net for Florida. Here’s how the Panthers will line up tonight:
Frank Vatrano - Aleksander Barkov - Carter Verhaeghe
Jonathan Huberdeau - Alex Wennberg - Patric Hornqvist
Mason Marchment - Eetu Luostarinen - Owen Tippett
Ryan Lomberg - Juho Lammikko - Noel Acciari
MacKenzie Weegar - Aaron Ekblad
Keith Yandle - Anton Stralman
Kevin Connauton - Radko Gudas
Injuries: Anthony Duclair (lower body)
Taxi squad: Gregory Denisenko, Philippe Desrosiers, Riley Stillman