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Posted On Friday, 01.31.2014 / 12:58 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues' Hitchcock matches wits against former pupil

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The St. Louis Blues will aim for a fourth straight win and a share of the Central Division lead Friday when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes. With 77 points, the Blues trail the Chicago Blackhawks by two points and also have four games in hand.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock will match wits with Carolina counterpart Kirk Muller, who played for Hitchcock with the Dallas Stars. Hitchcock had no problem admitting the coaching matchup feels awkward.

"It's hard for me to look at Kirk as anything but a player yet," Hitchcock said. "When you're looking at a guy that's played for you, and you've had such a unique relationship and so much success with them, it's hard for me to look at him as a guy you've got to coach against. It looks like a friend who happens to be standing on the other team's bench."

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Posted On Monday, 01.27.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Winning 'contagious' for Hurricanes, Blue Jackets

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes have played themselves into the thick of the Eastern Conference race on the strength of winning streaks.

The Blue Jackets saw their eight-game streak snapped in a 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, but they will have the chance to recapture the feeling against the Hurricanes on Monday.

"It's contagious," Columbus forward Nathan Horton said. "You come to the rink and you know you're going to win. That's the good feeling about winning. When you lose after a long streak, you want to get back on the horse and in the win column."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.25.2014 / 9:00 AM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Methot back for Senators for early start

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Ottawa Senators will try to overcome two frustrating trends when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at noon.

In games that start before 7 p.m., the Senators are 1-7-2 this season. Then there is the issue of playing at Carolina, where the Hurricanes are 10-0-1 against the Senators in the past 11 games.

Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot is expected to return to the lineup after sitting out the past two games.

Carolina forward Patrick Dwyer will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury.

Here are the projected lineups:

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Posted On Sunday, 01.19.2014 / 4:45 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning's Hedman injured, out against Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman injured his right ankle in a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday and did not return. He was ruled out Sunday against theCarolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes appeared to emerge healthy after their 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Goaltender Anton Khudobin made his seventh straight start, but coach Kirk Mullerdidn't tip his hand on his starter Sunday. Backup goalie Justin Peters has not played since a Dec. 27 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and will get the call against the Lightning.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 1:33 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Hurricanes hope reunited top line solves scoring woes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes will try to break a scoring drought that has resulted in back-to-back shutout losses against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames when they face the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

To address their scoring issues the Hurricanes have reunited Jiri TlustyEric Staal and Alexander Semin, the team's top line from last season. This season the trio has combined for 22 goals through 46 games; last season they had 54.

"I just want them to be one of our hardest working lines. That's all," coach Kirk Muller said Saturday morning. "They're capable of scoring and making plays. But if they put the work ethic into it -- discipline, short shifts and play hard -- hey, they might score this weekend, they might not. But when it finally kicks in, they've got the chemistry to be a very potent line."

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Posted On Monday, 01.13.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames minus Cammalleri; Hurricanes will have Staal

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Already struggling for offensive production, the Calgary Flames will be without Mike Cammalleri against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday after he sustained a concussion against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

"That's tough news for Cammalleri and for us," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "We all know what he represents for us. That's part of our business."

Cammalleri's 13 goals lead the Flames, who have scored one goal during their current three-game losing streak. Ben Street, who played eight games with Calgary at the start of the season, has been recalled from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League. He had one assist in his previous stint with the Flames.

"Don't make too much of the lines because [Monday] you might see a full buffet of lines," Hartley said. "We have a little overload at center so we will try some different combinations."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.09.2014 / 1:53 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Leafs' Gleason, Hurricanes' Liles face former team

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Defenseman Tim Gleason, traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Toronto Maple Leafs just eight days ago, is back in the place he called home for eight years, as the two teams meet Thursday night at PNC Arena. It didn't take long to tap into the awkward vibe so many players experience when they return to face their former teams.

"I got to stay home last night," said Gleason, who played his first game with Toronto on Tuesday. "I drove my truck to practice today. I saw my ex-boss, [general manager] Jim Rutherford. I kind of followed him all the way to the rink. I don't think he saw me. Kind of a small world."

Gleason then parked in the players' lot, but a good distance from the Carolina players. It's all part of the separation that goes with moving to a new club.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.09.2014 / 1:24 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Gunnarsson, Clarkson game-time calls for Leafs

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Toronto Maple Leafs lineup will be in a holding pattern until game time Thursday night.

Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (elbow) and forward David Clarkson (lower body) left the Jan. 4 game against the New York Rangers, but Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was hoping to have at least one of the two back in the lineup to face the Carolina Hurricanes.

"Obviously there has been some improvement, but we will have to wait until after the warm-up whether they give us the heads up on whether they can go," Carlyle said. "They would both like to take the time between now and then and test it again in warm-up."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 5:26 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Captain Staal out for Hurricanes against Predators

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes will be without captain Eric Staal on Sunday night against the Nashville Predators, and perhaps for five or six days, according to Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller.

Staal, who is missing just his second game since the start of the 2010-11 season, left the game Saturday night against the New York Islanders in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. The Carolina captain might have initially sustained the injury Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

The Hurricanes have recalled forward Aaron Palushaj from the Charlotte Checkers to fill Staal's spot in the lineup, although Palushaj will play on the wing.

Without Staal and injured center Riley Nash, the Hurricanes will piece together their lineup down the middle. Muller said he is likely to rely on Tuomo Ruutu and Jeff Skinner, who both have played center for Carolina. Over the past three games, the Hurricanes have often used three centers and four sets of wingers.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 10:54 AM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Staal could be out for Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes returned to Raleigh Saturday night following a 3-2 road win against the New York Islanders, extending their winning streak to three games.

Hurricanes captain Eric Staal left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. The Hurricanes captain has missed only one game since the start of the 2010-11 and head coach Kirk Muller gave no update on his status following Carolina's win.

The Nashville Predators lost 5-4 to the Florida Panthers in a shootout Saturday night in Sunrise, Fla. The Predators have earned points in four straight games (2-0-2).

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Hurricanes.

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I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien on forward Loui Eriksson's potential