The Buffalo Sabres head to Raleigh, North Carolina, looking to break a six-game losing streak while taking on the Hurricanes tonight.
Carolina is looking to bounce back following a 3-0 shutout loss to Columbus, though they have been playing well of late, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 contests.
Buffalo meanwhile, is looking to get back on the winning side of things, after dropping six straight games, and looking largely disinterested during many of those contests.
This is the third and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Sabres are winless in the first two efforts, going 0-1-1 in those games.
The Sabres are coming off of one of the more demoralizing losses in a season filled with them, as they were shutout against Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Actually, the Sabres have been shutout in three straight games coming into tonight, which ties a futile franchise-record.
On the good news front, Jack Eichel returns tonight after serving his two-game suspension for the illegal check to the head of Colorado’s Carl Soderberg. He’ll look to continue his strong offensive season by centering his usual wings in Sam Reinhart and Jeff Skinner.
Speaking of Skinner, he is currently mired in a 13-game goal-less drought. However, when playing his former team, he has had twine-denting success, scoring three times in the two games he’s played against them.
For the Hurricanes, tonight’s the first game in a five-game home-stand, which should figure largely to Carolina’s post-season hopes. Currently, Carolina sits in the first Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference. That standing though is a bit tenuous, as they’re currently tied with Columbus and only two points ahead of Montreal for the playoff berth.
Michael Ferland returned after a two-game absence due to injury in their last contest and figures to be a big part of the Hurricane offensive effort.
The hottest Hurricane at the moment has to be Teuvo Teravainen, however. In his last 10 games, the Finnish winger has notched 13 points, with 12 of them assists.
For the Sabres, Linus Ullmark will get the nod in net. In his last five starts, the young net-minder has a 1-4 record, with his lone win coming against Pittsburgh, when he stopped 41 of 44 Penguin offerings. For his career, Ullmark has only played Carolina once, and lost in extra-time, giving up six goals on 30 shots on goal.
Carolina will turn to Curtis McElhinney to patrol the pipes. He is looking to bounce back after getting shelled in his latest outing. McElhinney gave up eight goals in a loss to Winnipeg on March 8th. He has faced the Sabres nine times previously in his career and has compiled a record of 4-3, with two no-decisions.