The Hurricanes will have a more veteran presence on their blue line tonight, as Tim Gleason
is set to return to the lineup following three games off with an upper-body injury.
Niclas Wallin, who has been sidelined with similar issues, also took the morning skate on Monday but will not play. Coach Paul Maurice hinted that Wallin could probably play if absolutely necessary, but will be held out for at least tonight’s game against the New York Rangers.
“We want to be a little careful about putting both guys in on the same night, and we don’t want to dress seven defensemen,” said Maurice.
The Canes can afford the luxury of taking it slow with Wallin due to the solid play of AHL recalls Brett Carson and Jay Harrison
, who will stay in the lineup. Even though Bryan Rodney found himself to be the odd man out and was reassigned to Albany on Sunday, Maurice had good things to say about him as well.
“Those young guys have done a good job,” Maurice said. “Rodney played maybe his best game defensively down low in our end of the ice, and that’s improvement, because we know he can generate some offense. If he can continue there, we’ll have a player.”
Rodney has five assists in 10 games with the Hurricanes this season, four of which came on the power play.
For the Rangers, all eyes will be on defenseman Wade Redden tonight. The 32-year-old, who is on the second year of a lucrative six-year contract, will be back in the lineup tonight after two games as a healthy scratch. That move apparently did not sit well with Redden, who reportedly got into a headed exchange with coach John Tortorella last week.
Tortorella also scratched veteran forward Ales Kotalik, even though the veteran ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 19 points and is tied for second on the team with rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto with 14 power play points. However, he is a team-worst –15.
Another player getting another shot on the Rangers’ blueline is Matt Gilroy. The 25-year-old started the season in New York but began a five-game stint in the minors shortly after being beaten on this goal by Chicago’s Dustin Byfuglien. The Rangers were one of many teams bidding on the undrafted Hobey Baker winner’s services following the end of the college season last year.
Up front, the Rangers boast a healthy Marian Gaborik, whose league-leading 24 goals in 35 games rank among the best pace in team history. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who gets the start tonight, has held the opposition to two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight contests.Daily Clips:
NHL.com: Carolina aims for fourth consecutive win at home
CarolinaHurricanes.com: Hurricanes assign Bryan Rodney to Albany
News and Observer: Staal still hoping to shoot for gold
New York Daily News: Rangers relying on ‘Hank to be Hank’
New York Daily News: Gilroy called back
New York Post: Tortorella gives Redden one more chance