Certain corners of the hockey fandom have recognized the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers as impending failure as long as they existed in the NHL. âTheir existence makes our game a mockery!â You would hear, often with a certain accent that predominates north of the 49th parallel. âThese places don’t appreciate hockey! You deserve less than nothing! They have to be moved to a real hockey market yesterday, like Flin Flon! “
Who is laughing now?
The only two teams still losing in regulation this season will clash tonight in Sunrise, the first of three matchups that could serve as a preview of a playoff series that would blow heads in the corners mentioned above . The Hurricanes in particular have a chance of history: only two teams in NHL history, the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993 and the Buffalo Sabers in 2006, have started the season with ten wins in a row.
You can bet the Hurricanes have every intention of finishing third.
Rod Brind’Amour shuffled the ranks to get the Hurricanes out of the doldrums in Chicago on Wednesday and was forced to reshuffle his defensive pairs after Brett Pesce was eliminated with an upper body injury that will cost him at least a few weeks. It worked, and with the Hurricanes winning, it’s no surprise they’re getting back to the same line-up, but you can expect Brind’Amour to waste no time moving parts when they have another sluggish start lie down.
This is what the canes will look like tonight:
Jordan Martinook – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov – Vincent Trocheck – Martin Necas
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Jordan Staal – Jesper Fast
Steven Lorentz – Derek Stepan – Seth Jarvis
Jakob Slavin – Ethan Bear
Brady Skjei – Tony DeAngelo
Ian Cole – Brendan Smith
Injuries and scratches: Nino Niederreiter (lower body), Brett Pesce (upper body)
The Panthers were undefeated when Joel Quenneville was ousted from office on October 28 for a breach of duty uncovered by the Kyle Beach sexual abuse cover-up investigation. Since then, interim coach Andrew Brunette has led Florida to a 2-0-1 record.
Even without Markus Nutivaara, Sam Bennett and Joe Thornton, the Panthers lost Radko Gudas and Sergei Bobrovsky in the last two games and left a multitude of drafts and additions throughout the line-up. The top of the Panthers line-up remains loaded, but that depth is going to get a big test tonight against a Hurricanes team that can control the game from anywhere in the line-up.
The Hurricanes may see an old friend on the other side of the ice: Gudas’ injury opened the door to his NHL debut for Chase Priskie, a South Florida native who was trading in the Vincent Trocheck trade from Carolina to Florida at the close of trading in the 2020 Vincent Trocheck deal Home team in the victory of the Panthers against the Capitals on Thursday. If Gudas can’t return tonight, Priskie will play his second game, this time against the team that first signed him to an NHL deal.
Here’s how the Panthers will line up (probably; they didn’t skate this morning):
Carter Verhaeghe – Aleksander Barkov – Anthony Duclair
Jonathan Huberdeau – Sam Reinhart – Owen Tippett
Mason Marchment – Anton Lundell – Maxim Mamin
Frank Vatrano – Eetu Luostarinen – Patric Hornqvist
MacKenzie Weegar – Aaron Ekblad
Gustav Forsling – Radko Gudas
Brandon Montour – Kevin Connauton
Injuries and scratches: Ryan Lomberg (healthy), Chase Priskie (healthy), Sergei Bobrovsky (upper body), Sam Bennett (IR upper body), Markus Nutivaara (IR not known), Joe Thornton (IR not known), Noel Acciari (IR not known)
The officials from tonight
Referees: Brian Pochmara # 16, Ghislain Hebert # 22
Linesmen: Tyson Baker # 88, Dan Kelly # 98