While the Canes have been fielding a mix of veterans and youngsters in their first two games, the Thrashers have employed a different approach.
Atlanta sent a rookie team on the road for its first two exhibition games, both losses to veteran-heavy lineups in Nashville and Tampa Bay. After releasing a handful of players over the weekend, they figure to dress something much closer to an NHL team tonight.
While the hosts’ full lineup hasn’t been released, star forward Ilya Kovalchuk is expected to play, as are new additions Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina. Free-agent tryout Maxim Afinogenov could also be in the mix.
While that’s of little concern to Rod Brind’Amour and company, it should be a good test for the Hurricanes’ youngsters, particularly those on defense. The Canes are brining just one NHL defensive pairing with them to Georgia, with Jamie McBain set to make his exhibition debut.
McBain has been seeing plenty of work on the power play in recent practices, as that projects to be his eventual role at the NHL level. On Sunday, he played the point with Bryan Rodney in what should be a great man-advantage pairing for Albany this season and perhaps for Carolina in a few years.