The third match of the Carolina Hurricanes' six-game exhibition slate takes them to our nation's capital for a Saturday night face off against the Washington Capitals.
The Hurricanes opened the preseason with back-to-back shutouts against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but that amounts to not much more than 13 words in this game preview. What's most important is evaluating who will make the cut for the Opening Night roster, when the results count for real.
"We need to give everyone this chance," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "There are young guys that want these games because they're trying to show their stuff and earn their spot."
One of those players is Julien Gauthier, who will dress for his third straight game. He'll receive top-line billing to the right of Brock McGinn and Lucas Wallmark.
"We're giving him a chance to see what he can do. There's probably a good chance you'll see him again," Brind'Amour said. "You can judge in practice all you want, but it's a different animal when you get out there in a game. That's where you need to see these guys play."
Video: Brind'Amour:"Game's different when the pressure's on"
The Canes' lineup, much like the one that played in Tampa on Tuesday, is light on experience and heavy on those looking to prove their worth. Jake Gardiner is one veteran name in the lineup that sticks out. He'll be paired with Gustav Forsling on the back-end, both players new to the organization.
"The new guys I'd like to get in more for them, just so they can get the feel for … how we play," Brind'Amour said. "Getting them up to speed as fast as we can is what's important."
The Canes will roll with the likely split of James Reimer and Anton Forsberg in net. The two combined for a 15-save shutout in Tampa on Tuesday, with Reimer stopping eight shots and Forsberg stopping seven.
"I like all of them," Brind'Amour said of the goaltenders in camp, adding that the picture in net is no clearer than it was a week ago.
And - win or lose - that's why preseason is ultimately important.
"We're looking at certain guys," Brind'Amour said. "Every opportunity we can give them, that's the mindset coming in."