Nearing the midway point of an eight-game homestand, the Carolina Hurricanes will face off against the Florida Panthers in PNC Arena Thursday night for the second game in a row.
The Canes beat the Panthers 5-2 on Tuesday, snapping a six-game win streak for Florida, which currently sits one point ahead of Carolina atop the Central Division (though the Canes have two games in hand).
A win Thursday would jump the Hurricanes, who are coming off two straight home wins after dropping the opener of the extended homestand, into first place in the division, with just over a month left on the regular season schedule.
Alex Nedeljkovic will get the start in net for the Hurricanes Thursday night, with Petr Mrazek backing him up and James Reimer relegated to a healthy scratch. Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen will still be unavailable for the Canes’ forward corps, which is led by Vincent Trocheck who has scored a goal in all five games against his former team this season.
Here’s how Carolina will hit the ice:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Jesper Fast
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook - 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 (concussion symptoms, IR)
Taxi Squad: Jake Gardiner, Joey Keane, Max McCormick, Drew Shore
The Panthers brought a six-game winning streak into Raleigh Tuesday night, but saw it come to an end as the Canes put four past Sergei Bobrovsky and added an empty netter to win 5-2.
Florida was active early Thursday, as the Panthers made a trade that sent Brett Connolly and Riley Stillman to Chicago in exchange for Lucas Carlsson and Lucas Wallmark, the former Hurricane who was traded to Florida last year for Trocheck.
Here’s that full trade:
TRADE:— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) April 8, 2021
To Chicago #Blackhawks:
F Brett Connolly
D Riley Stillman
F Henrik Borgstrom (signing rights)
2021 7th RD pick (FLA)
To Florida #Panthers:
F Lucas Wallmark
D Lucas Carlsson
* no RS on either side.
Florida, as it did Tuesday, will skate with seven defenseman Thursday night, as Chris Driedger enters for Bobrovsky.
Here is how the Panthers could hit the ice Thursday, though with the trade and some other lineup changes expected this is very much subject to change. Assuming Wallmark and Carlsson aren’t available Thursday (though they very well could be), here’s a potential Florida lineup:
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
Matt Kiersted - Anton Stralman
Injuries and Scratches: Ryan Lomberg (healthy), Lucas Wallmark (healthy), Lucas Carlsson (healthy), Aaron Ekblad (leg, IR), Anthony Duclair (shoulder, IR)
Taxi Squad: Kevin Connauton, Brady Keeper, Aleksi Heponiemi, Philippe Desrosiers, Spencer Knight