Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose returns to the Carolina lineup Saturday night after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. His return leads to a juggling of the forward lines, but a lot of the focus will be on stopping Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, who leads the NHL with 45 goals.
"We've got to stop Stamkos. He's on fire," said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller. "Our D pairings are going to be important and our awareness of him."
After Tampa Bay's 4-3 overtime win against the Rangers on Friday night, the team arrived in Raleigh late due to weather conditions. They did not skate Saturday morning.
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday