The Carolina Hurricanes will hit the ice in PNC Arena Thursday night for the final time in the 2021 regular season, hosting the Chicago Blackhawks for the third straight game to wrap up the home slate.
The Canes, who won both of the first two games against the Blackhawks this week, are on a 12-game point streak, looking to finish off their 28 home games with a 21-3-4 record with a win Thursday. Petr Mrazek, who started Tuesday in his return from injury, will be back in net Thursday as the playoffs quickly approach.
With Tampa Bay’s 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars Wednesday night the Hurricanes won’t be able to clinch the division title in their home finale, but they can cut the magic number from three points to one point with a win. In the race for the Presidents’ Trophy Carolina controls its own destiny, holding a three-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights with just one more game played.
Thursday it will be Mrazek leading the charge, with Sebastian Aho on a nine-game point streak and Andrei Svechnikov on a five-game one.
For Canes fans in the building, keep on eye out for a very, very familiar face on the storm siren in the second intermission tonight.
Here’s how the Hurricanes will hit the ice in PNC Arena for the final time this regular season:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Max McCormick - Steven Lorentz - Morgan Geekie
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Jake Bean - Jani Hakanpaa
Injuries and Scratches: Jake Gardiner (healthy), James Reimer (healthy), Jordan Martinook (lower body), Brock McGinn (upper body), Cedric Paquette (lower body)
Taxi Squad: Roland McKeown, Joakim Ryan, Drew Shore
The Blackhawks gave the Canes an early fight Tuesday night, but Carolina’s star power powered the Hurricanes to the comeback win to extend the point streak to 12 games.
For Chicago, Alex DeBrincat has the hot hand after a two-goal game against the Canes last time out. DeBrincat has five goals in his last four games, and he’s on a four-game goal streak. In other lineup moves, defenseman Alec Regula, a third-round pick in 2018, will make his NHL debut.
Delia starting again for the Blackhawks tonight.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) May 6, 2021
Alec Regula making his NHL debut, as well, coming in for Mitchell. Connolly in for Strome.
On the season, Carolina holds a 5-2-0 advantage over the Blackhawks in the series, with the eighth and final game coming Thursday night.
With Collin Delia in net for the third straight game, here’s how Chicago could hit the ice:
Adam Gaudette - Philipp Kurashev - Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat - Pius Suter - Brett Connolly
Dominik Kubalik - David Kampf - Brandon Hagel
Mike Hardman - MacKenzie Entwistle - Vinnie Hinostroza
Riley Stillman - Connor Murphy
Duncan Keith - Alec Regula
Nikita Zadorov - Wyatt Kalynuk
Injuries and Scratches: Malcolm Subban (healthy), Ian Mitchell (healthy), Dylan Strome (healthy), Kirby Dach (wrist), Jonathan Toews (LTIR), Alex Nylander (knee, LTIR), Adam Boqvist (wrist, IR), Calvin de Haan (hip)
Taxi Squad: Cameron Morrison, Chad Krys, John Quenneville