Nothing says that the playoffs are just around the corner like...uh, two games in a week against the Ottawa Senators.
The Hurricanes’ year-end tour of the Atlantic Division continues tonight at PNC Arena as the Senators come to town for the second and final time this season. The Senators aren’t eliminated from postseason contention yet, but six points back of the final wild card spot with six games to go is not exactly an advantageous position.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have a chance to, at worst, maintain their three-point lead with a game in hand over the Devils. Can they do it on a warm, dry, calm Tuesday night against Ottawa? (Lionel Messi says hello.)
- The Hurricanes and Senators have played just once earlier this season, a 4-0 Carolina win at PNC on February 24. Antti Raanta, who is in line to get the start tonight, pitched a 32-save shutout, and the Hurricanes faced little resistance in taking a 2-0 lead before the first media timeout.
- Their final game of the season will be next Monday in Ottawa. Yes, that means it will take until game 80 for the Hurricanes to visit every rink in the NHL this season. The NHL schedule maker: like the Peace Street Bridge and billable hours, always undefeated.
- Rod Brind’Amour indicated that Raanta and Frederik Andersen would be trading starts the rest of the way, which would mean that Raanta goes tonight. He still hasn’t lost a game in regulation since November, amazingly.
- Seth Jarvis gets the bobblehead treatment tonight. Make sure you’re one of the first 10,000 through the doors to get your hands on the goods.
- Apparently, the Canes’ blue line decided to take the night off after setting a record on Saturday in Montreal. Sunday’s win over the Islanders marked only the eighth Canes win of the season where no defenseman registered a goal, a day after the defense corps set a franchise record with their 52nd goal of the season.
The Hurricanes didn’t skate this morning, but other than the expected swap in net, it’s unlikely they’ll make any major changes to how they looked in their comeback win over the Islanders two days ago, unless Teuvo Teravainen is ready to come back after missing three games with an illness:
Jordan Martinook - Sebastian Aho - Martin Necas
Stefan Noesen - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Jesse Puljujarvi
Jack Drury - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Derek Stepan - Paul Stastny - Seth Jarvis
Jaccob Slavin - Brent Burns
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jalen Chatfield
Injuries and Scratches: Calvin de Haan (healthy), Dylan Coghlan (healthy), Teuvo Teravainen (illness), Max Pacioretty (LTIR Achilles), Andrei Svechnikov (LTIR knee), Ondrej Kase (LTIR concussion)
Captain Brady Tkachuk left the morning skate early and seems unlikely to play tonight after an apparent injury on a hit during the Senators’ loss to Columbus on Sunday. Mathieu Joseph also suffered an injury during the morning skate and may not go either. The Senators will start Leevi Merilainen in net, making his first NHL start after Mads Sogaard came down with an illness and is unable to play tonight. These lines are very subject to change:
Alex DeBrincat - Tim Stützle - Drake Batherson
Egor Sokolov - Ridly Greig - Claude Giroux
Dylan Gambrell - Shane Pinto - Julien Gauthier
Patrick Brown - Mark Kastelic - Austin Watson
Jake Sanderson - Artem Zub
Erik Brannstrom - Nick Holden
Tyler Kleven - Jacob Bernard-Docker
Injuries and Scratches: Brady Tkachuk (undisclosed), Mathieu Joseph (undisclosed), Mads Sogaard (illness), Parker Kelly (knee), Travis Hamonic (lower body), Derick Brassard (leg), Thomas Chabot (upper body), Jacob Chychrun (hamstring), Anton Forsberg (IR knee), Josh Norris (IR shoulder)
Referees: Garrett Rank #7, Jake Brenk #26
Linesmen: Caleb Apperson #77, Jonathan Deschamps #80