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Game Preview: Hurricanes at Panthers

The Canes return to South Florida for the first time since the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes head to Sunrise, Florida, to take on the defending Eastern Conference Champion Florida Panthers.

The Canes are riding back-to-back overtime victories and wins in six of the last seven as they kick off a two-game, two-day Florida road trip.

The biggest news for Carolina is the return of Brett Pesce. The big righty has been out of the lineup since October 19, but is with the team in Florida.

In practice yesterday, Pesce skated with his usual partner Brady Skjei. However, head coach Rod Brind’Amour says he will be a game-time decision.

Who sits when Pesce returns? Tony DeAngelo also skated with Skjei in practice, so he seems like the most likely target. It is interesting timing if he is the scratch, as DeAngelo tallied his first goal of the season in the Tuesday victory over Buffalo.

It is good to see Sebastian Aho back at center, and it is paying off for the Canes. Over the past five games, Aho leads the team with six points.

Dmitry Orlov is finding his game. Besides the defensive improvement in a new system, he is producing points with one goal and three assists in the last five games. The time on the powerplay is likely boosting his confidence.

With back-to-back road games, the expectation is that Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov will split starts.

As of writing, there is no confirmed starting goaltender for Carolina. Unsurprisingly, Florida will start Sergei Bobrovsky.

Interestingly enough, Florida also has back-to-back overtime victories heading into tonight’s game.

After a sluggish start to the season, the Panthers have lost just one game in regulation since October 24.

Paul Maurice’s crew is producing a lot of shots, ranking fourth in the NHL with 34.3 per game. That is just a touch under the Canes, who average 34.6 shots per game.

The usual suspects are leading the way for the Cats.

Sam Reinhart leads the team in goals, points, and powerplay goals.

Matthew Tkachuk has the most assists and shots on the Panthers, and Aleksander Barkov has at least a point in eight of 12 games this season.

Of note, Sam Bennett was reinjured last week and was placed on the injured reserve.

This weekend’s games in Florida should tell us a lot about the Canes. Let’s see if they continue to improve their game over quality opponents.

Here’s how to check out the action tonight:

  • Time: 7:00 PM ET
  • Location: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise, FL
  • TV: Bally Sports South with Mike Maniscalco, play-by-play; Tripp Tracy, color analyst; Hanna Yates, in-game reporter; Shane Willis, analyst.
  • Radio: 99.9 The Fan
  • Streaming: Bally Sports Plus
  • Line: ML: CAR -130; PL: CAR -1.5 +190