|Ward defending against FLA's Jonathan Huberdeau (AP)|
RALEIGH – The Carolina Hurricanes are looking to erase an “Opening Day” loss to Florida in their home opener.
The Canes take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena Tuesday night. Puck drops at 7:00pm. This will be the first of five meetings between the Southeast Division rivals in the 48-game, 2012-13 regular season.
In the first game back from a tremendously long 113-day lockout, it’s hard to believe that any team would automatically be in Stanley Cup-contender form. Most of the Canes roster stayed active during the lockout, but playing against your teammates and playing against the defending Southern Division champions are two different things.
“First game, it’s tough to get real crisp right off the bat,” Eric Staal told the (Raleigh) News & Observer after the Panthers’ game.
Canes goalie Cam Ward gave up four goals on the first eleven shots, and backup goalie Dan Ellis made his Carolina debut (came from Anaheim) just after the first intermission. Many fans wondered if Ellis would start against the Bolts.
“Cam’s in, he’s in tomorrow. He’s the starter. After watching the games over the weekend, there’s gotta be a good six or seven goalies that have been pulled already – good goalies, All-Star goalies. It’s the toughest from what it appears so far on the goaltenders more than anybody,” said Canes’ head coach KirkMuller after Monday’s practice. “I think what’s important is he bounces back mentally, rolls up his sleeves, gets ready, and works through this like the other goalies. I said forget about it, it’s done, and just focus on the opener.”
Two questions - can Eric Staal finally get on track for the Canes, and can Carolina's defense stop Steven Stamkos?
One cool thing that the Storm Squad and Stormy are doing on Opening Night though, every fan in attendance will receive a Carolina Hurricanes 2’x3’ house flag, presented by PNC.
There's a storm coming...hopefully...
WHAT: Carolina Hurricanes 0-1-0 (0 pts.) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 1-1-0 (2 pts.)
WHEN: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 7 p.m. ET
WHERE: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
TV: SportSouth HD – Time Warner Cable: 520(SD)/1520(HD); DirecTV – Eastern NC: 647/647-1; DirecTV – SC, Western/Central NC: 650/650-1; Dish Network: 452; AT&T U-Verse: 729/1729; Mediacom: 19; Atlantic Telephone: 260
RADIO: Hurricanes Radio Network: WCMC 99.9 FM The Fan (Raleigh – flagship); WWNB 1490AM/105.7FM (New Bern, NC); WAVQ 1400 (Jacksonville, NC); WMFD 630AM (Wilmington, NC)