Who wants it the most?
The Canes still are playing for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. As for the Buffalo Sabres, they'll be fighting tonight to desperately keep hope alive, even if they now have the slimmest of hope of making the playoffs.
"It's not like there's 10 games left for them," Canes coach Paul Maurice said after the morning skate. "It's almost like it's simpler for them to mentally get around it and get themselves ready to play."
The Sabres, who have two games left, won 3-1 at Toronto last night. Not only do they have to win tonight at the RBC Center, but they also need the Philadelphia Flyers to win in regulation tonight against the New York Rangers in New York. The Rangers, with one point, will end Buffalo's chances.
Maurice said there would be one lineup change tonight. Defenseman Joe Corvo, who missed Tuesday's game against the New York Islanders with the flu, will be back in and Frantisek Kaberle will come out.
Cam Ward will again be in goal for the Canes for his 28th consecutive start after picking up his sixth shutout of the season in the 9-0 rout of the Isles. Maurice said today that he never thought of
lifting Ward during the game and letting backup Michael Leighton get some work.
"We can't run this team based on the standings or the score on the clock," Maurice said. "Cam was in playing well and he wasn't coming out."
Maurice said he might spread the minutes tonight and give the fourth line a few more shifts, with Buffalo having played last night, but that nothing was a given.
"We want to win this game, so there will be points in the game where the bench gets a little shorter," he said. "Again, it will be based on play."