Winnipeg Jets at Carolina Hurricanes
7 p.m., PNC Arena
TV: FS-Carolinas, TSN - Jets
Tonight's game against the Winnipeg Jets will be the Hurricanes first game against a Southeast Division opponent since the second game of the season where they were blown out by Tampa Bay. They've played fewer games within the division than any other team in the Southeast but this will change in the next week or so, as three of their next five games will be intra-division. I mentioned in an earlier post that the Canes have a great chance to gain an advantage over the rest of the Southeast, but they may have to do it with five key players out of the lineup. In the past week, the Canes have seen Joni Pitkanen, Jeff Skinner, Jamie McBain, Tim Gleason and Tim Brent all sustain injuries and a few of them are going to be out for longer than a few games. This is going to put a lot of pressure on their top players to produce because there isn't much depth present in the rest of the lineup.
The Hurricanes are going to be especially thin on defense tonight, so much that they needed to recall junior defenseman Ryan Murphy from the Kitchener Rangers to play tonight. Murphy was the team's first round pick in 2011 and he has shined as an offensive defenseman in the OHL. His counting numbers haven't been as impressive this year and he has been prone to defensive lapses from time to time, so it's not certain that he's ready for the NHL but he will be getting a test tonight and might even see top-four minutes.
Carolina's entire organizational depth is going to be put to the test during this stretch of injuries and it will be interesting to see how some of the younger players perform. There are a lot of prospects who are confined to the minor leagues or fourth line minute because there's no room for them in the lineup but injuries are going to force at least one youngster into a bigger role for the Canes these next couple of games. It's up to them to take advantage of this opportunity and if Monday's game against the Canadiens is any indication, things could be very ugly. This roster is better than what they showed on that night, though so I have a feeling that we'll see a different team tonight against Winnipeg.no comments