Coach Paul Maurice said there would be no changes to the team’s lineup from last night’s 6-2 win against the New York Islanders, meaning Cam Ward
is in goal, Joni Pitkanen
is still out and Brandon Sutter
is a healthy scratch tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. – Depth Chart
While there wasn’t a pregame skate today, a few players took the ice, including Scott Walker. Maurice said he had a good day, but would need three or four such days before he could return to practice.
As for tonight, the challenge for the Hurricanes will be to replicate that game at home, where they’ve lost three straight by a combined score of 15-2. It’s easy to lump all three of those games together given their equally lopsided results, but as Maurice pointed out, the most recent game against Boston on Tuesday was a little bit different.
“I’ve said this maybe too many times, but that Boston game was a lot better game than the final score said,” said Maurice. “It was 2-1 with four minutes left in the game and we’re on the power play. That should be a comfortable place for us. There was a lot better effort in that game than the final score said there was.”
Sutter was a healthy scratch for the first time in his young career last night as Tim Conboy took his place in the lineup. Sutter hadn’t played over 10 minutes in a game since January 27 against the New York Rangers, and played a season-low 2:36 against Buffalo last week.
“In your first pro season practicing every day with men and playing against men, I think there’s a lot there,” said Maurice. We’re looking at this potentially as something almost like what we did with Roddy, even though his was based on injury. We’re giving him a few days out of games to mentally relax and feel good again to put him in a better position to play.”
Both the Hurricanes and Lightning played last night, although the Hurricanes were able to take it relatively easy in the third period against the Islanders, while Tampa Bay went all the way to a shootout, losing to the New Jersey Devils. Not that the Canes ever seem tired on the latter end of back-to-back games, where they’re 8-2-0 this season. Ward is 4-1-0 in those games with 1.60 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.