For most of the Canes' players, tonight's game will be the only time they'll play the Detroit Red Wings this season.
But not Derek Joslin. Before being traded to the Canes from the San Jose Sharks, the defenseman faced the Wings twice, in late-November and early December. He also had an assist in each game as the Sharks and Wings split.
Joslin's scouting report for tonight:
"The biggest challenge for us is to stay out of the penalty box," he said today. "They are so skilled on the power play, so we will give ourselves a better chance if we stay out of the box and just play our game.
"We're a really good team. Our offense matches up with their offense. We've just got to get to their goaltender, put a lot of shots on net and be physical since they don't like to play physical."
A physical game is Joslin's kind of game. He's 6-1 and 210 pounds but seems bigger on the ice and doesn't back away from anybody, including such tough guys as Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Joslin, 24, has a plus-9 rating and four assists in his 14 games with the Canes since the Feb. 18 trade. He missed the Sharks' first 15 games this season with an upper-body injury, then was held out of seven of his first 10 games with the Canes, but he's become something of a fixture in the lineup the last 11 games.
"I think things have gone well," he said. "I wasn't playing much in San Jose. Then coming here for a couple of games I was the odd-man-out again. I seemed to have found my game and my role on this team, and I've tried to do anything I can to help this team win down the stretch."
Joslin, from Richmond Hill, Ontario, was drafted by the Sharks in 2005. Saying goodbye to his teammates, he said, was tough. It's a quality organization and he was leaving a team that could contend for the Stanley Cup this year,
"But I was excited about the opportunity to get a fresh start," he said. "It's a young team here in Carolina -- really young -- with room to build. It's a good core of players here who could be here for a long time.
"They've given me the opportunity to show what I can do, but by no means do I think I have a clear spot on this team. We have seven good defensemen here and I've been playing every game like it's my last because you never know."
Canes coach Paul Maurice said today that Jay Harrison (upper-body injury) again would be the scratch on defense. Joslin will get another shot at the Wings.
The Canes, ninth in the Eastern Conference, still have a chance of reaching the playoffs but will need to win games while the New York Rangers lose one or both of their final two games. That's what they're up against.
"I think we have the pieces in place to be a real good playoff team," Joslin said. "The East is wide open and anybody can beat anybody in the top eight. It's real close.
"Just get the foot in the door and it's a new season next week."