Defenseman Justin Faulk
will not dress for the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, as they take on the Boston Bruins in the first game of a two-game homestand.
Head coach Kirk Muller confirmed the 20-year-old would be sidelined with an upper-body injury that he suffered Friday night in Buffalo. Faulk logged 11:51 of ice time before leaving and not returning in the second period.
“We’re going to miss him, but the other guys have to step up,” Muller said.
The upside to this injury news is that Faulk remains day-to-day. With the Hurricanes sitting idle until Friday, it’s not unreasonable to expect him back in the lineup for the team’s next game against Ottawa.
“I don’t think he’s going to be out long, which is good news,” Muller said. “And we’ve got a few days to recover.”
While the defensive pairings were still up in the air as of the morning skate, Bobby Sanguinetti will re-enter the lineup. The 24-year-old Trenton, N.J., native, who skated in the team’s first three games, was the healthy extra on Friday in Buffalo.
“You want to stay as fresh as possible and be sure that you’re ready to go when you get called,” Sanguinetti said.
Most recently, Sanguinetti was paired with Jay Harrison, who’s familiar with playing alongside young defensemen. Last season, Harrison was matched with the then-rookie Faulk.
“He’s strong in front of the net and moves the puck well,” Sanguinetti said of Harrison. “He’s good on the ice with talking and making sure I’m in the right spots. He’s been good for my game.”
Carrying seven defenseman has allowed the Hurricanes to rotate players in and out of their group of dressed six. With Faulk unable to play tonight, the Canes will ice six blue-liners that have already seen game-action in this young season.
“Depth is a big part of this season,” Muller said. “Everyone is going to face it somewhere along the line, I’m sure.”
The Hurricanes’ forward lines have remained unchanged, as Zach Boychuk will be the healthy extra for the fourth straight game. In net tonight for Carolina is Cam Ward, who is looking to build on his first win of the season, a 30-save effort against Buffalo on Thursday.
Opposite Ward is expected to be Kazakhstan native Anton Khudobin, who will get his first start of the season. Tuukka Rask, who is 3-0-1 on the year with a 1.96 goals-against average and .925 save percentage, is likely resting for Boston’s game in New Jersey tomorrow night.
In seven career games, Khudobin is 5-1 with a 1.32 goals-against average, a .961 save percentage and one shutout. He played in 26 games with Moscow Oblast Atlant of the KHL, notching a 6-14-4 record and 2.96 goals-against average.
Boston brings a four-game point streak to Raleigh, as they look to open the season with a five-game point streak for the first time since 1990-91. This is the first of three meetings between the Hurricanes and Bruins, two of which take place at PNC Arena. Last season, the Canes swept the season series for the first time in franchise history, as they outscored the then-defending Stanley Cup champions 14-5.