When the Florida Panthers visit PNC Arena tonight, there will be two big points on the line. The Hurricanes currently trail the Panthers, who lead the Central Division, by three points with two games in hand.
When it comes to the Hurricanes’ lineup, the question on everyone’s mind is: what’s going to happen with the goalie situation?
Petr Mrazek return from a lengthy absence in fine form Sunday, shutting out the Dallas Stars for his third clean sheet in four full games played this season. He’ll get a chance to build on that with another start tonight, and Alex Nedeljkovic will back him up.
That does not, however, mean that Mrazek and Nedeljkovic are going to be the Canes’ top two goalies over James Reimer the rest of the season, as Rod Brind’Amour said after Tuesday’s morning skate that he likes all three goalies and all three would factor in going forward.
In other lineup news, there’s no word yet on just how long Brock McGinn, who left Sunday’s game with an upper body injury, will be out, but he definitely won’t play tonight. Morgan Geekie will draw in for him.
Here’s how the Hurricanes are expected to line up for this one:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Jesper Fast
Jordan Martinook - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Nino Niederreiter - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette - Steven Lorentz - Morgan Geekie
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Jake Bean
Injuries and scratches: James Reimer (healthy), Brock McGinn (upper body), Teuvo Teravainen (IR, concussion symptoms)
Taxi Squad: Jake Gardiner, Joey Keane, Max McCormickdu
A Florida team that’s won six straight will stick to what’s been a winning lineup of late, with Sergei Bobrovsky in net and an 11-forward, seven-defenseman skater lineup.
The Hurricanes will not see Aaron Ekblad, who’s out for the rest of the season with a leg fracture, or Anthony Duclair, who remains out with a shoulder injury.
Here’s how Florida is expected to line up:
Mason Marchment - Aleksander Barkov - Carter Verhaeghe
Jonathan Huberdeau - Alex Wennberg - Patric Hornqvist
Frank Vatrano - Noel Acciari - Owen Tippett
Eetu Luostarinen - Juho Lammikko
Gustav Forsling - MacKenzie Weegar
Keith Yandle - Radko Gudas
Riley Stillman - Anton Stralman
Injuries and scratches: (Aaron Ekblad, IR, leg) (Anthony Duclair, IR, shoulder), Brett Connolly, Ryan Lomberg, Markus Nutivaara
Taxi squad: Kevin Connauton, Brady Keeper, Aleksi Heponiemi, Philippe Desrosiers, Spencer Knight