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Game 18: Carolina Hurricanes (9-7-1) @ Washington Capitals (6-10-1) (Alex Semin Returns)

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Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin was the first one on the ice this morning at the Verizon Center for the Hurricanes morning skate, followed by Riley Nash and Zac Dalpe; that's just how the season has gone thus far.

The Carolina Hurricanes have encountered numerous amounts of injuries this year forcing the organization to make call-ups with lines never staying constant. However, one thing that has stayed constant is Alexander Semin and his effort. Semin returns to Washington for the first time since the Capitals let him walk in free agency. Capitals forward Troy Brouwer had some words for Semin, calling him lazy and unnoticeable at times. However, the Carolina Hurricanes have a different opinion. Tim Brent, Eric Staal, Joe Corvo, and others had choice words for Brouwer saying that Semin is one of the hardest working players on the team. Eric Staal is quoted as saying the falling "We've got his (Semin's) back and look forward to the game tonight". I expect there to be some fireworks tonight (Justin Faulk and Troy Brouwer have a history), so make sure you are tuned in.

As far as the game goes, the Canes will still be without Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen; and of course Jeff Skinner, Jamie McBain, and Tuomo Ruutu are still quite some time away from returning.

However, the Canes have inserted one new face and one familiar face in the line-up. Marc-Andre Gragnani will be making his Hurricanes debut tonight as he will be paired with OHL player turned NHL player; Ryan Murphy. Zac Dalpe also returns to the line-up as he has recently been on a tear down in Charlotte.

The Canes will roll with the following line-up...

Chad LaRose - Eric Staal - Alexander Semin

Jussi Jokinen - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer

Jiri Tlusty - Riley Nash - Zac Dalpe

Tim Wallace - Jeremy Welsh - Kevin Westgarth

Drayson Bowman (IA)

Joe Corvo - Justin Faulk

Marc-Andre Gragnani - Ryan Murphy

Jay Harrison - Bobby Sanguinetti

Cam Ward

Dan Ellis

Injured: Jeff Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu, Tim Brent, Tim Gleason, Joni Pitkanen, Jamie McBain

The Capitals are also struggling with early injuries... Niklas Backstrom (sick) and Jason Chimera (lower body) are questionable for the Caps. Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, Jack Hillen, and Dmitry Orlov are out. Mike Green however, will return to the line-up for the Capitals tonight.

Season Statistics

Eric Staal: 9 goals, 10 assists, 19 points

Jordan Staal: 4 goals, 11 assists, 15 points

Alexander Semin: 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points

Jeff Skinner: 7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points

Jiri Tlusty: 7 goals, 5 assists, 12 points

League Leaders

Eric Staal is 8th in +/- rating (+11)

Eric Staal is 1st in game winning goals (4)

Joni Pitkanen is 5th in shifts per game (31.4)

Dan Ellis is 4th in goals against (12)



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Hoping to bail on an early dinner and catch most of tonight's game - I have a long standing feud with a friend over the Caps/Canes. Semin with a hat trick would be fantastic.

Also placing rooting interest tonight in Rangers, Penguins and Sabres.

Go Canes!

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I actually enjoy our commentators. Tripp Tracy is amusing and Forslund is a top 5 play by play announcer.

Ward deserves props tonight, he is keeping us in the game. I wish we could get everyone rolling on all cylinders together so we didn't have these droughts of lackadaisical play.

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Anyone else get annoyed by our commentators? The constant Ward cock sucking fest is just too unbearable.

It is no more annoying than you criticizing absolutely everything he does. We get it. You hate him.

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