NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 17th
(All times Eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (27-29-15) at Minnesota Wild (29-31-10), 2 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward reached a milestone in
impressive fashion last time out to snap his club's losing streak. Carolina
hopes to make it back-to-back wins this afternoon as it visits the Minnesota
The Hurricanes halted a two-game slide on Thursday with a 2-0 victory over
the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues. Ward made 40 saves to post his fourth shutout
of the season as well as the 200th victory of his career.
Ward's 20th career shutout also matched a franchise record held by Arturs
"It certainly means a lot to me because I'm very fortunate to be doing what
I'm doing," said Ward. "I just want to keep moving forward and hopefully win
Chad LaRose and Jeff Skinner each had a goal for the Hurricanes, who are
looking to win two in a row for the first time since Feb. 13-17. Carolina,
though, is nine points out of a playoff spot with 11 games to play and will
try to keep its faint playoff hopes alive tonight without Skinner.
The young forward was suspended for two games on Friday for kicking Blues
forward Scott Nichol during Thursday's game. The 19-year-old leads the 'Canes
with 20 goals and is second with 41 points.
Forward Jiri Tlusty missed a third straight game with an upper-body injury on
Thursday, while defenseman Jaroslav Spacek sat out his second contest in a row
due to a strained lower back. Both are questionable for tonight.
The Wild were once atop the NHL standings in December, but they come into play
today 13 points out of a postseason spot in the Western Conference with 12
games left. They have dropped the first two contests of a five-game homestand,
getting bested 4-3 by the Flames on Sunday prior to Tuesday's tough-luck 1-0
defeat to the Stars.
With goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding both battling lower-body
injuries, Matt Hackett got the call again in net and made 24 saves. His effort
was good enough to win the game, but instead Minnesota lost for the seventh
time in eight games.
"Tonight, the game was very reminiscent of games that we won earlier in the
year when we were in first place," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. "We didn't
give up much tonight. It certainly would have been nice to capitalize on one
of those power plays, but we just need to find a way to get one goal."
A possible return of captain Mikko Koivu could help. The forward has missed
the past 13 games after aggravating an upper-body injury and could be back in
action today. Forward Matt Cullen (knee) as well as defensemen Justin Falk
(leg) and Steven Kampfer (facial) are also questionable for tonight.
Carolina has won its past three games versus Minnesota, including a two-game
sweep of a series in Finland to open up the 2010-11 season. The Wild, though,
have won the past three encounters played in Minnesota, where the clubs
haven't met since Oct. 24, 2009.
03/17 10:30:50 ET