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Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes Game Preview

JL Matthews

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Raleigh, NC -- The Carolina Hurricanes (34-10-7, 75pts) and the Chicago Blackhawks (22-23-6, 50pts) take to the ice tonight for their sixth meeting of the regular season.

Carolina is coming off a 2-1 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. The victory kept the Canes in the hunt for the President's Trophy, with only five games left in the season.

The team now moves on to a three-game series against the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Kane and company have already been eliminated from playoff contention. It's unclear what level of intensity Chicago will bring to the ice.

Yet, for Carolina, these three games, played over the next four days, could secure the team's first division title in over a decade--and perhaps their first-ever President's Trophy.

But will the Canes put everything on the line with their playoff birth already secured and several players already out with injuries?

"I don't think anybody on this team is thinking 'be careful' going into a hockey game," Canes' center Vincent Trocheck said. "There's a lot on the line; we're trying to win every game down the stretch. Nobody wants to create bad habits going into the playoffs. 'Being Careful' is definitely a bad habit."

The season series between Carolina and Chicago has been close. Carolina has gone 3-2-0 and won the most recent matchup, a 4-3 victory on April 1.

Teuvo Teravainen, who won a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2015, has been on a roll of late. Teravainen has now recorded three points in three games (2g, 1a) since returning from a concussion that caused him to miss 32 of 33 games between February 20 and April 26.

Similarly, Sebastian Aho is enjoying his best form of the year. The 23-year-old Finn has extended his points and assists streaks to seven and five games, respectively.

Carolina holds a two-point edge over both Florida and Tampa Bay (who beat Detroit 2-1 on Sunday). Florida has only three games left to play (two of those are against Tampa Bay). The Lightning have four games left (two against Dallas and two against Florida).

In the President's Trophy race, Carolina leads Vegas by a single point. However, the Golden Knights have one game-in-hand on Carolina.

Lineup News

Jesper Fast is questionable for tonight's game, according to Brind'Amour.

"[Fast] would be the only change," Brind'Amour said. "Other than that, the may or may not be any other changes."

Brock McGinn (upper body), Petr Mrazek (lower body), Cedric Paquette (undisclosed), and Jordan Martinook (lower body) are not expected to play tonight.

Brind'Amour did note that Alex Nedeljkovic (14-4-3, .934 SV%, 1.89 GAA) will start in net for Carolina. Nedeljkovic has won six of his last seven starts.

Kevin Lankinen (16-14-5, .908 SV%, 3.04 GAA) will start for Chicago. Lankinen has given up three or more goals in eight straight games.

The Canes' expected lines:

Forwards

Andrei Svechnikov — Sebastian Aho — Teuvo Teravainen

Nino Niederreiter — Vincent Trocheck — Martin Necas

Steven Lorentz — Jordan Staal — Warren Foegele

Max McCormick — Morgan Geekie — Drew Shore

Defense

Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton

Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce

Jake Bean — Jani Hakanpaa

Goalies

Alex Nedeljkovic

James Reimer

Injuries: Brock McGinn (upper body), Jordan Martinook (lower body), Petr Mrazek (lower body), Jesper Fast (lower body), Cedric Paquette (undisclosed), Jake Gardiner (healthy)

Chicago's expected lines:

Forwards

Alex Debrincat — Philipp Kurashev — Patrick Kane

Brandon Hagel — Kirby Dach — Vinnie Hinostroza

Dominik Kubalik — Dylan Strome — Adam Gaudette

Mike Hardman — David Kampf — Brett Connolly

Defense

Nikita Zadorov — Connor Murphy

Duncan Keith — Wyatt Kalynuk

Riley Stillman — Ian Mitchell

Goalies

Kevin Lankinen

Malcolm Subban

Injuries: Andrew Shaw (concussion), Jonathan Toews (undisclosed), Alex Nylander (knee surgery), Adam Boqvist (wrist), Calvin DeHaan (hip)

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JL Matthews is a writer with interests spanning history, humor, tv/film, parenting, and more. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a 6x Top Writer on Medium. Follow him on News Break, Medium, and Twitter for updates and latest work.

Raleigh, NC
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