Man, it’s been a long time without hockey. That ten day break took forever, though it seemed like at least some of the Canes had fun while they were away from Raleigh.
The Canes, though, are back and started practicing on Sunday in anticipation of their tilt tonight against the Vancouver Canucks. It turns out they’ll be welcoming an old friend back to Raleigh a little earlier than expected, as former Canes GM and current Canucks President Jim Rutherford landed one of the biggest targets of the NHL trade deadline season in Elias Lindholm.
The move cost Vancouver a current player, two prospects, and two draft picks but as Canes fans are aware, that’s the MO for Rutherford. The Canucks are leading the Western Conference right now, and both Rutherford and Lindholm are hoping that the sudden jump into a team that’s at the top of the standings will be what each other needs to get to what they want. Lindholm is looking to recover from a slow start in his free agency season, and Vancouver is looking to rush into the playoffs after many thought they wouldn’t even contend this season.
This is already a squad that had the second most goals in the NHL, and they showed their firepower in their first meeting—a 4-3 Vancouver win that at the time was the Canes’ fourth loss in a row, and the game that sparked a ton of concern among the fans about the disastrous Western Canada swing. In that one the Canes fought back to tie it in the third, only to give up the eventual game winner a minute later.
The Canes are obviously a different team now. The loss to the Canucks was the last game the Canes would fail to earn a point in over the next five, and they would only have one regulation loss for the rest of the month. They would like nothing more than to show just how much they have improved over the past two months.
On the Canes side, Pyotr Kochetkov is likely going to get the start as he’s been in the starter’s crease for the last couple of practices. Andrei Svechnikov is still skating in a yellow no-contact jersey, and didn’t do any work with the Power Play groups on Monday. Thus, it’s unlikely he’ll be in action tonight. That said, the Canes have won three of the four games he’s missed, including the last three before the break, so they are at least have the luxury of letting him get fully healthy and come in when he feels at 100%.
The Canes will be sprinting to start post All Star Break portion here, as they’ll turn around and welcome Colorado on Thursday and a desperate New Jersey team on Saturday. The Rangers won on Monday so there’s no chance the Canes will be able to catch New York tonight, but now with a five point cushion on the Flyers they at least enter this portion of the season a lot more secure of their place in the playoffs.
If you aren’t going to be at PNC tonight, here’s how to catch the action, and use the comments below to chat about the game!
- Time: 7:00 PM ET
- Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
- 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
Also, happy to officially be a part of the crew here at Canes Country! My handle on the site formerly known as twitter is @albhood and as Bob mentioned I also write for our sister UNC site, Tar Heel Blog. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the season with you!
Let’s Go Canes!