Who would have dared predict - scarcely beyond a year ago - the BankAtlantic Center would become Carolina's Southern Chamber of Horrors? Six of the Hurricanes' last seven visits have resulted in losses, including the most recent four.
Equally surprising may be that Paul Maurice's troops (12-12-4) have managed only a scant two-point lead over the Panthers (13-15), but don't be lulled into a warm sense of security: Buffalo and Toronto(!) are keeping pace with the 'Canes at 28 points, though ironically Florida has more wins (13), a better goal differential (-1), more road wins (7), and fewer losses past regulation (zero) than all three. Ah, the loser point.
Also: Chip Alexander of the News-Observer is reporting via Twitter that coach Peter DeBoer will be sitting defenseman Dmitry Kulikov this evening, calling Kuli's recent stretch a matter of "tough times". In the six December games so far, the 20 year-old has 1g-1a, +1, and 4 SOG. Not terrible, but it's clear he's not been comfortable.
Live Game Chat at 6pm.