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Canes coming off big win, trade

by Patrick Williams
WINNIPEG -- A major trade on Friday quickly overshadowed one of the biggest wins of the season for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Defenseman Tomas Kaberle headed out of town on Friday morning after the Hurricanes shipped him to the Montreal Canadiens for fellow Czech defenseman Jaroslav Spacek. Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller expects Spacek to draw into the Carolina lineup tonight after his arrival in Winnipeg this afternoon.

Kaberle had contributed 2 assists in the team's most recent outing, a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers that broke a streak of seven consecutive losses (0-6-1). The Hurricanes traveled to Winnipeg immediately after the game and enjoyed a day off yesterday.

The Hurricanes have discovered an offensive side on this week's tour of Western Canada, having picked up 11 goals in games against the Oilers and Calgary FlamesTuomo Ruutu and Chad Larose both own two-game goal streaks, and Jamie McBain has picked up points in his last three contests (3-2-5).

With a regular-season contest as well as a preseason date already in Winnipeg, the Hurricanes are most familiar with the MTS Centre's unwelcoming environment for visiting teams. The Jets have fed off that home-ice advantage and have taken six of their last seven games at home.

"We have to be ready for the start," Muller said. "We have to be ready for a team that goes after you."

Muller has stressed a more up-tempo system since taking over behind the Carolina bench on Nov. 28. The win against the Oilers was perhaps the first sign that the new system is beginning to take root with the Hurricanes.

"We want to go after them," captain Eric Staal said of the Jets. "They're an up-tempo team, too, and if you let them initiate their forecheck, get in there and use their skill, they'll capitalize. For us, I think we want to initiate."

The Hurricanes will continue on to Toronto after tonight's game and spend three days there before their game with the Maple Leafs next Tuesday night.

Here is what the Hurricanes lineup likely will look like:

Jeff Skinner - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose
Jiri Tlusty - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Andreas Nodl - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Bryan Allen - Derek Joslin
Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk
Jamie McBain - Jaroslav Spacek

Cam Ward will start for the Hurricanes, with Mike Murphy backing up.
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