The last time the Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks met each other was November 25, 2009—that's 388 days ago. The Ducks won, 3-2, in the Honda Center, the second loss in what would become a four-game losing streak for Carolina just weeks after their incredible 14-game skid.
Back then, the two starting goaltenders for each side were Manny Legace and Jean-Sebastian Giguere. Neither of those two players start for the 'Canes or Ducks anymore, and, actually, neither of them start for any team anymore.
Two of the goal scorers in that contest were Tom Kostopoulos and Petteri Nokelainen, neither of whom play for their respective teams anymore. The two team captains were Scott Neidermayer and Rod Brind'Amour, both of whom are now retired.
As you can see, a lot has changed for both squads since November 25, 2009. They both missed out on the playoffs—two more disappointing seasons for two teams that have won the Stanley Cup relatively recently and went through some offseason changes.
One thing that hasn't changed in this matchup is the fact that the 'Canes haven't beaten Anaheim since October 29, 2008, and haven't defeated them at the RBC Center since December 29, 2006. Sure, there haven't been many meetings at all during that span due to the scheduling system, but a win tonight would certainly be a rarity for the Hurricanes.
Coming back to the 2010-2011 season, both teams are on a roll heading into tonight's game. Anaheim is 17-14-4 on the season, good enough for 38 points, which puts them at sixth in the Western Conference, and 4-1-1 in their last six games.
Carolina, though, has been equally good in their last six and sport their first three-game winning streak of the season at the moment. The 'Canes are 14-12-4 on the season, totaling up to 32 points, placing them in ninth in the Eastern Conference and four points out of a playoff spot. They have played five fewer games than the Ducks.
Two hard-hitting players in Anaheim's Lubomir Visnovsky and Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu are on fire heading into the game. Visnovsky has one goal and five assists in his last five games while Ruutu has put up two goals and two assists in his last four appearances.
Zach Boychuk, currently tied for second in the AHL with 32 points, will be making his season debut for the 'Canes, replacing injured Jiri Tlusty. Jay Harrison is also unlikely for Carolina. On the opposing side, Teemu Selanne is day-to-day and probably not going to play while Aaron Voros is out for up to a month.
The goaltending duel will also be interesting to watch. Cam Ward has stopped 28-of-29, 38-of-39 and 45-of-47 in three of his last four games and has started 11 games in a row. 2010 Olympian Jonas Hiller is third in the NHL with 15 wins to date and is 3-0-1 in his last four starts.
The Hurricanes and Ducks will be underway at 7 PM ET and will be providing live updates, analysis, insights and notes all night long. If you're a fan of either team, you can watch it on Fox Sports Carolinas or KDOC or listen on 99.9 FM The Fan (in Raleigh) or AM Channel 830 (in Anaheim).