While Sergei Samsonov’s winner in Philadelphia was of the highlight-reel variety, the Canes’ other two goals were something other than that. No disrespect to Patrick Dwyer and Tuomo Ruutu, but the term “ugly” could suffice.
The way the Canes see it, a goal is a goal, and they’ll be happy to keep getting them that way in the future, including in tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
“You go to the net and usually that’s when good things happen,” said Ryan Bayda. “It’s a simple game and it’s an easy game for us to play. It’s almost brain-dead hockey. Get it to the net, go in there and bang and see what you can come up with.”
“That’s the way it works for everybody in the league right now,” said coach Peter Laviolette. “There’s some pretty ones that are scored, but there’s more ugly ones that are scored. The way defenses play defense now, there’s a lot of people in front of the net. Any puck at the net is a good puck because it creates a little bit of chaos.”
With that mentality, look for the Hurricanes to throw whatever they can at Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller. Starting goaltender Jean Sebastien Giguere will be available, having recently rejoined the team after taking time off for family matters, but Hiller is expected to play after shutting out Chicago 1-0 on Friday to improve his record to 5-1-1.
Former Hurricane Bret Hedican makes his return to the RBCCenter for the first time since joining the Ducks nine games into their season. He recently appeared in his 1,000th NHL game on November 22.
“He’d been in the organization for quite a while and played a lot of games with a couple of cup runs,” said Laviolette of Hedican, who played 417 total games with Carolina over six seasons. “We certainly appreciated what he did here. He was a steady, two-way defenseman, he was a professional, he played hard all the time and was able to handle a lot of minutes against a lot of tough players. He was a real good player for us.”
There’s no question that this is a different Ducks team than the one the Hurricanes saw on October 19. The Ducks were just 1-4-0 back then, but have gone 12-3-3 since. Leading scorers Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry had combined for only two assists through the first meeting, but have 53 total points in the 18 games since to propel themselves to the top 10 in league scoring.
With Dennis Seidenberg and Tim Gleason expected to be out tonight, it will be interesting to see how Laviolette spreads the minutes around his blueline. Seidenberg leads the team with an average of 24 minutes per game, while Gleason is third with . Anton Babchuk and Josef Melichar are both in, while Frank Kaberle logged just over 19 minutes in his return to action on Friday.