Loose, relaxed and intent on finishing their season on a strong note, the Carolina Hurricanes
have become a dangerous team capable of dragging opponents down with them below the playoff line.
The Hurricanes (28-29-15) shut out the League-leading St. Louis Blues
at home on Thursday night before hitting the road for a two-game sojourn to Minnesota and Winnipeg. Carolina handed Minnesota a 5-3 loss on Saturday afternoon to continue a stretch in which the Hurricanes are playing 10 of 12 games away from home.
Goaltender Brian Boucher
played his first game since Dec. 3 and turned in a 23-save effort. Despite the road-heavy schedule, the Hurricanes have won three of their past five games, leaving coach Kirk Muller
happy with his club.
“We compete every night and play hard,” Muller said of a club trying to atone for a poor first half that doomed their playoff chances and led to coach Paul Maurice
’s firing in November. “Everyone is engaged and feeling a part of it.”
Leading scorer and captain Eric Staal
echoed Muller’s words.
“We like our game,” Staal said. “We like the way our team is preparing to come into games and pick up points. We’re still trying to fight and climb and get back into the thick of things and go from there.”
will conclude his two-game suspension for a kicking incident on Thursday night against the Blues. Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek
exited the game at Minnesota with an injury after he had returned from a two-game absence. Carolina recalled Bobby Sanguinetti
from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers to replace Spacek. As well, Joni Pitkanen
skated with Skinner during the Hurricanes’ morning skate.
will start for the Hurricanes, with Boucher backing up.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Hurricanes:
– Eric Staal
– Chad Larose
– Jussi Jokinen
– Tuomo Ruutu
– Brandon Sutter
– Pat Dwyer
– Anthony Stewart
– Jamie McBain
– Justin Faulk
– Bryan Allen