Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 03/13/10 at 02:10 PM ET
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice has announced that Brandon Sutter will not be able to play tonight against the visiting
Phoenix Coyotes. Sutter suffered a “lower body injury” Thursday night against the Penguins, and didn’t feel right today in the morning skate. Not that it matters, but depending on whose account you believe, Sutter was injured (1) in a collision with Bill Guerin; (b) after getting legs tangled with Kris Letang; (iii) after being checked by Evgeny Malkin; or (D) when he got a skate in a rut and lost an edge.
Coaches were hopeful that he would return to the lineup for tonight’s home game, but it’s not going to happen. Jerome Samson has been recalled from the Rats to fill the roster spot. In one previous recall, Samson (Sam-SAWN) had one assist and four PIMs in five games. He is, by miles, the stats leader in Albany with 62 (32/30) points in 65 games. The native Quebeccer wears the extremely unusual number 67 for the Canes and 17 for the Rats.
Meanwhile, Justin Peters will get his second consecutive start in nets after a shaky but impressive 37-save win against the Pens on Thursday. He is not only setting himself up for a job with the big team next season, but also setting himself up to be a little more than the #2 guy. I’ve been critical of the way Cam Ward has been ridden the way Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller are ridden, and I’m a little excited about the prospect of having a guy who will get more than seven starts from the #2 position.
Carolina is still holding onto slim playoff hopes, and this will be the last cross-conference game. They need to win, but can afford to give up an overtime point to the Western Conference opponent. From here on out, they will need to win games in regulation against Eastern teams. They can afford to give up a point here and there, but they probably can’t afford any regulation losses. Canes fans will have to pay attention to another game of importance tonight. The eighth place Bruins square off against the seventh place Canadiens tonight, and it will be in the Canes best interest if Montréal wins that game in regulation. If the Canes take care of their own business and the Habs take care of Boston, there will be a six point gulf between the Canes and the last playoff spot.
Tonight is the second of four straight home games, and the Canes have been on a tear in their friendly confines, where they have won eight games in a row.
The Canes have scored four or more goals in eight of their last eleven games, and will be facing a goalie who has struggled against the Canes historically. Ilya Bryzgalov is 0-3-0 against Carolina, including two lopsided losses (5-2 and 7-2) last season. Justin Peters has never faced the Coyotes.
Eric Staal (5g/1a in five games), Sergei Samsonov (3g/16a in 15 games) and Joni Pitkanen (2g/7a in eight games) are three Canes players who have more than a point per game against the Coyotes. Wojtek Wolski (2g/4a in five games) is the only Yote with the point-per-game against the Canes.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.