”One percent of the time a team comes out and they’re kind of deer-in-the-headlights. The other 99 they’re on fire. I’m going to go with the odds.”
Ironically, Peter Laviolette said that just two and half weeks ago when the Canes were preparing for a Tampa Bay team playing their first game after firing Barry Melrose. Although the Canes won that game in a shootout, Laviolette’s prediction was correct as the Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Canes came back to tie.
Now, the Hurricanes find themselves in the same situation. Add in three days of rest, an opponent that lost in a shootout on the road last night and, last but not least, the return of Justin Williams, and there’s no reason the Canes shouldn’t find themselves in the larger of Laviolette’s two groups tonight.
Williams was already raring to go for his first game of the season, but tonight can even add some extra motivation.
“We definitely should have a lot of energy,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of days off, we’ve had a coaching change and we’ve had a lot that’s gone on this week. Our energy level will be high tonight.”
New coach Paul Maurice said he’d keep a close eye on Williams and play him based on how things progress.
“We’re going to monitor that and move him around a bit,” said Maurice. “You’re not going to see him play 20 minutes tonight, but we expect him in the lineup. He’s going to get some power play time, and we’ll gauge it on how he feels.”
With Williams in (he said he’ll start on Brandon Sutter’s line), Wade Brookbank is expected to be the odd man out of the lineup tonight. Niclas Wallin should be in after missing some practice earlier this week with a lower body concern.