2. Can the Carolina Hurricanes secure a winning return?
Tonight will be the first time that the Carolina Hurricanes have played an NHL game since Jan. 18 after a COVID-19 outbreak hit their facility, forcing the league to shut things down and postpone four of the Canes’ games in the 2020-21 season.
The Hurricanes were 2-1-0 on the year before they were forced to down tools, and they will hope to hit the ground running upon their return against a Tampa Bay Lighting team who dropped a tough 5-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, so they will be gunning for revenge tonight.
In truth, it has been a disjointed start to the year for teams in the Central Division with the Dallas Stars also having their season delayed due to a COVID-19 outbreak, so the likes of the Hurricanes, the Lightning and the Florida Panthers will be hoping that they can now get into a flow without any further unwanted disruptions or breaks.
And all eyes will be on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight as they will finally get a chance to hit a puck in competitive anger, although the odds will be stacked against this team. After all, Captain Jordan Staal, who was the first Canes player to appear on the NHL’s daily COVID-19 list, will be available but it remains to be seen whether he is at full tilt.
Then, there is the small matter of the fact that Carolina will be without forwards Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Martinook, Jesper Fast and Warren Foegele, and defenseman Jaccob Slavin will all on the list today and they will miss the game as a result. That is a lot of manpower for the Hurricanes to be without and it just makes a tough task against a loaded and talent-laden Tampa Bay Lightning team out for revenge that much harder.