Tonight the Carolina Hurricanes visit the Anaheim Ducks. This is the only meeting between the two teams this season and each team needs the win. I think tonight’s game will be better than probably most people anticipate. Granted, neither team is near the top of their respective conferences, but the Hurricanes and the Ducks have both been playing better hockey of late.
The big story for Canes fans tonight is the return of Eric Staal, who is coming off an upper body injury that cost him ten games. Adding Staal back into the lineup gives Carolina more experience, more scoring opportunities, and another big body on the ice. It’s always fascinating to see a player return from an extended injury absence. A return can generally go one of two ways; it will either be fairly seamless and the team sees a benefit right away or it can mess with the chemistry of the team and take a little while to re-adjust. I suspect Staal’s return will be of the more seamless variety and hope it can give the team the spark it needs to begin playing more consistently.
Tuomo Ruutu is reportedly questionable for tonight’s game. He left Monday night’s loss to the Stars with a lower body injury. Hopefully he’s in the lineup tonight and if not, that he won’t be gone long. He’s one of the hottest players on the team lately with six points in his last five games. For Anaheim, Joffrey Lupul is questionable as well, with back spasms.
Odds and Ends: The Hurricanes have been playing hard hitting hockey over the last few games, but are spending too much time in the penalty box, especially last game. Also, Manny Legace is playing well but the offense needs to help him out by putting some points on the board. Look for another solid performance from Joni Pitkanen tonight; as he has been amongst the team leaders in ice time in his first two games back from injury.
Filed Under: Carolina Hurricanes
About the Author: Daughter of an awesome former college hockey goalie; who led the team in penalty minutes two consecutive years. Marketing consultant for a small financial advising company and a student. Sports addict. Anchorman quoter extraordinaire. Twitter: JKim16