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Gameday: Canes vs. Pittsburgh

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
Other than starting Justin Peters in goal instead of Manny Legace, the Canes will likely have no lineup changes tonight as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at home.

Paul Branecky
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Coach Paul Maurice said Erik Cole, who came down with an illness prior Wednesday’s game in Washington, will be a game-time decision tonight.  Cole is apparently feeling better, but the level of improvement would have to be significant for him to suit up one day having to be quarantined and taking a separate flight home

If he is indeed unable to play, Finnish winger Oskar Osala, recalled Wednesday for his Hurricanes debut, will be in the lineup.  Osala was scoreless in just under seven minutes of ice time (a game low) against the team that traded him exactly one week earlier, but should get more of a chance tonight, specific situations permitting.

“The only trip worse than this is flying out of Washington into Ottawa because then you’ve got about two hours on the bus between hotels,” said Maurice of having to face the top two teams in the Eastern Conference on back-to-back nights, with travel.  “Coming back home to play Pittsburgh is going to be a challenge for us, but we need those guys who didn’t play into the 20s last night, especially in an overtime game, to be real good and real quick.

“I thought he got a little more comfortable and he had a couple of good shifts in the third period,” said Maurice of Osala.  “The power plays and penalty kill kind of took him out of any kind of rhythm, but when he gets going he’s got some good speed and I like his size, so we’ll get a little better assessment if he plays tonight.”

Today had originally been a target date for Cam Ward’s return to the ice on a limited basis, but the goaltender, who is the team’s only injured/ill player other than Cole, did not skate.  The team remains hopeful that he will be able to do so soon.

“We’re holding him off basically until (trainer) Pete (Friesen) wants to put him on the ice, and then it will be a stretch of time until he feels comfortable,” said Maurice.

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