GAME DAY: ‘Canes @ Rebels

GameDayPreviewGame20-Rebels

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Who: 
Lethbridge Hurricanes @ Red Deer Rebels
Where: ENMAX Centrium
When: 7pm puck drop, pregame at 6:45pm
Listen: ROCK 106
Watch: WHL Live

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‘Canes vs. Rebels in 2013/14:
 2-2-1-1
Last Meeting: January 31st/2014, 6-5 in a shootout for Lethbridge (in Red Deer)

‘Canes Record: 5-10-3-1
‘Canes Home Record: 2-4-2-1
‘Canes Road Record: 3-6-1-0

Rebels Record: 9-8-2-1
Rebels Home Record:
4-3-1-0
Rebels Road Record: 5-5-1-1

‘Canes Leading Scorer: Riley Sheen (3G,12A, 15P)
Rebels Leading Scorer: Brett Cote (2G, 17A, 19P) and Adam Musil (7G, 12A, 19P)

The Break Down

The Lethbridge Hurricanes head into Friday’s game against the Red Deer Rebels having lost four straight, three of those in overtime. In all of those games however, the Hurricanes played strong enough to win having a lead or being scoreless with the opposition half way through the third period.

But, a few late goals and pair of third period collapses last weekend at home against Swift Current and Edmonton saw the Hurricanes pick up three our of eight points in their last four games – not nearly good enough for a team who wants to be a playoff-bound club this spring. The silver-lining to all of this though is that currently the Hurricanes are just four points back of the Moose Jaw Warriors entering play this weekend for the final Wild Card playoff position. One good week, or weekend, could surely get the ‘Canes back on track in the hunt for post-season positioning – although it is seriously too early to be thinking about that right now, it is better to be in the top-8 rather than being on the outside looking in at any point of the season.

Tonight, the Hurricanes travel to take on a Red Deer Rebels club who sit just one game above five-hundred but are playing much better hockey in recent weeks. After a rough start to the season, much like the ‘Canes, the Rebels have been finding ways to win and enter tonight with a 6-2-1-1 record in their last ten games (the ‘Canes are 4-3-3-0 in that span).

What To Watch

Lethbridge Point of View

Top Line Threat: When you think of the line of Zane Jones, Riley Sheen and Jamal Watson, you might think of a number of things, including: speed, excitement, chances, and lots of points. However, what you might not think of is the term “defensive liability.” But unfortunately for the ‘Canes that’s exactly what they have been lately. Watson is a team-low minus-17 on the season with Sheen a close second at minus-15. Jones, a little bit better at minus-11 on the year. Watson and Sheen have both been a minus in four straight games; both have been a minus-8 in that span. Also, Sheen and Watson have been a minus in 14 of 19 games this season. And while you might be alright with those stats if the three are producing, but they’re not. Both Watson and Sheen seem to be fighting it offensively. Sheen only has points in three of his last 11 games and no goals in that span, while Watson has collected points in just four of his last 14 games.

Skinner Returns: Stuart Skinner has returned to the ‘Canes after competing for Canada-Black at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge for the past two weeks. The ‘Canes standout rookie netminder had won three of his previous four starts collecting a 1.33 goal against and a .963 save percentage in those three wins before jetting East.

Red Deer Point of View

Success & Sutter Rhyme: Well, not really. But the Sutter name is almost synonymous with success. Daryl Sutter, the head coach of the LA Kings has won two Stanley Cups in three seasons, and his younger brother Brent – the owner, president, general manager and head coach of the Rebels is no slouch himself. Since purchasing the Rebels back in 1999, Sutter has gone on to coach the Rebels to a 387-249-46-35 record, a winning percentage of .540. He has led the Rebels to a Memorial Cup championship in 2001 along with two other appearances to the WHL Final. Not to mention two World Junior Gold Medals and a 215-146-49 record in the NHL during a five year span when he coached the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames (winning % of .524). The Rebels will also host the 2016 Memorial Cup. That’s just coaching, during his playing days, Brent won two Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders and three Canada Cups! Pretty good resume!

Finding A Way: The Rebels have been rolling along. They enter action tonight with a 6-2-1-1 record in their last ten games. Red Deer went 3-2-1-0 on a six game road trip that wrapped up last Saturday in Tri-City. The Rebels have won three straight games on home ice.

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