RALEIGH, N.C. -- The mood was gloomy in the Washington Capitals locker room after the morning skate, about 12 hours after the Capitals were eliminated from contention for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The combination of a Columbus Blue Jackets win and a shootout loss by the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday pushed Washington out of picture.
"Obviously, it's a hard day to be a pro," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "We're all very disappointed of course. It's about us. We didn't get the job done. We've got to be better as coaches, we've got to be better as players."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than 22 years since making his NHL debut, Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney has gained some insight into how the regular season typically unfolds. With Dallas scrambling to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the veteran is more than happy to share his wisdom.
"For the majority of teams, you play 70 games just to care about the last 12 of the season," Whitney said.
The Stars sit in the second wild-card position in the Western Conference heading into their game with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Each of their final seven games will have playoff implications, with the Phoenix Coyotes in pursuit. Phoenix also has 85 points, but Dallas has two games in hand. They play each other in their season finale on April 13 in Arizona.
"You scoreboard watch and do all those things that bring the intensity up," Whitney said. "It feels a little more competitive on a nightly basis. Your mistakes get magnified, the goals you score get magnified. But when you score them and how you score them become a little less relevant."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Coming off a 3-2 road win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes are clinging to the fringe of Stanley Cup Playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. And as long as they are, coach Kirk Muller expects to see Carolina's best.
"There's a lot of fight left in our guys," Muller said. "Our basic message from the Olympics on has been, 'One game at a time.' With the exception of one or two games we feel like we've been playing really good hockey. There's still an avenue to make [the playoffs]. And as long as there is, let's keep slugging it out."
After putting the Sabres through skating drills and addressing their work ethic in practice Wednesday, Nolan made a point of saying he is not down on the team.
"They're not bad. They're not tanking," he said. "It was designed to remind them that we have to work every day. Whether we're in first place or last place, it doesn't matter. It's how you prepare yourself."
Dorsett has played in two of the past five games after missing 18 with a broken fibula sustained Jan. 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"They're both the same type of player," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They bring energy, physicality. I just want to get Dorsett in. He's been out for a long time. He was playing on a regular basis before his injury. I just think we've got a lot of hockey coming up here and we need to put Dorsett in."
Forward Mats Zuccarello is expected to return to the New York lineup after sustaining a broken hand during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He has missed the first four games since the Rangers returned from the break.
Newly acquired forward Martin St. Louis will play his second game for the Rangers, who did not skate Friday morning. He recorded three shots in his debut Tuesday, playing on a line with Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards.
The Hurricanes come off a 3-2 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, snapping a five-game losing streak.
"We want to play a fast game here [Friday] and build off the game against San Jose, which is arguably our best game of the year," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "I thought our compete level was real high. We put pucks in an area where we were able to retrieve them and we were able to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone."
"I'm OK. I'm going to Sochi," the U.S. Olympian said in the dressing room after Montreal's 4-1 victory. NHL players taking part in the Games are scheduled to fly to Russia on Sunday.
Pacioretty drove hard to the net and was hit by Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore. He appeared to be favoring his left forearm as he skated slowly to the dressing room. He didn't return, and the Canadiens announced during the second period that Pacioretty had sustained a lower-body injury.
The 25-year-old has a team-leading 26 goals and 11 assists for Montreal this season.
"It's a play I make often," Pacioretty said. "I went in a little bit awkwardly. I banged up my arm and my hip. I was very worried at first. It was tough to breath and I was having (back) spasms. Once that went away, I was feeling a lot better. I got a lot of treatment during the game and I'm feeling a lot better."
Pacioretty didn't hesitate when asked if he was certain to be ready for the Olympics. He expected some lingering bruising, but otherwise felt he avoided a more serious injury.
"I think I got lucky," he said. "It could have been a lot worse."
Pacioretty is one of seven Canadiens who will compete in Sochi.
"If he was to miss that, it would be a terrible loss," said Montreal goalie Carey Price, who will play for Canada. "It's a very cool life experience to take part in."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- When the Carolina Hurricanes face the Florida Panthers on Friday, they will look for a little more grit from the power play and a little less emphasis on style points.
The Hurricanes have fallen to 28th in the NHL with a 14.1-percent success rate on the man-advantage. They have three power-play goals in their past nine games.
"We've got to attack the net more," coach Kirk Muller said. "We're too much of a perimeter power play, looking for the nice plays and it just doesn't happen. [We need to be] more direct, have more urgency."
RALEIGH, N.C. --Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice has 10 games under his belt since taking over Jan. 12. The Jets' 8-2-0 mark ties the best 10-game stretch in franchise history.
As a result the Jets have gone from the far edges of the Stanley Cup Playoff chase to just four points behind the eighth-place Vancouver Canucks. Mauricehas managed to get the most out of his new team without an overhaul.
"In the games toward the end when the coach is in trouble, you can see it in the players' body language," Maurice said. "But here they were going, they were trying. They just needed a little adjustment, a little refocus. There were a lot of good things in the Winnipeg Jets' game and we tried to keep those."
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."
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."
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.
To address their scoring issues the Hurricanes have reunited Jiri Tlusty, Eric 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."
"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."
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.
"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."
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.
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.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- One day after Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said he's been working the phones in pursuit of a trade, the Hurricanes had a quiet morning skate in preparation for their game Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens.
Carolina has won just one of its previous nine games (1-4-4). Rutherford also met with coach Kirk Muller on Monday.
"I had a good chat with him yesterday. Everything was good," Muller said. "We've got to win. I'm comfortable with it. That's what we're in this game for. Our better players have to play better. They know that. That gives us a better chance to win, like any hockey club. But there's more positives around here than negatives."
"Grubauer has been good," Oates said. "We've got three goalies, so we have to make some decisions. We've played Carolina twice and didn't have the best results, so we will change it up a little bit and put a fresh guy in there."
It will be Boychuk's first NHL game this season after playing with the Hurricanes, Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins last season. This will mark the sixth consecutive season Boychuk has appeared in a game for Carolina. He has eight goals and 20 points in 85 NHL games.
The Hurricanes will be without defenseman Andrej Sekera, who is out with an upper-body injury and awaiting an MRI, coach Kirk Muller said. With 13 points, Sekera is second on the team in scoring and first among Carolina defensemen.
While the Hurricanes get one key player back from injury, another is headed out of the lineup. Forward Alexander Semin left the game Saturday against the St. Louis Blues after a hit by Alex Pietrangelo. Semin returned to the ice briefly but then came out for the remainder of the game. Carolina coach Kirk Muller said Semin had an upper-body injury and was being evaluated Monday.
The news was no better for forward Jeff Skinner, who will miss his 11th straight game with an upper-body injury. Skinner did take the morning skate but was ruled out afterward.
Colorado coach Patrick Roy said the key to winning away from Denver is making the right adjustments to combat each opponent's strengths.
"Their centers are pretty solid," Roy said of the Hurricanes. "So we're going to have to be solid on the puck and win our battles. We're going to have to put shots on [Hurricanes goalie Justin] Peters and test him early on. We've been playing with the lead, and when we are it seems we're a lot tougher to beat."
"We're going to get [Backstrom] in here soon," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "But when a guy's playing really well, he deserves to keep on going."
Clayton Stoner, who fell into the boards awkwardly in a 3-2 shootout loss Thursday night at Washington, will sit out against the Hurricanes. In his place, rookie Matt Dumba will play his 10th NHL game, which makes the first year of his entry-level contract official.
In the meantime, he will make a few adjustments. Colin McDonald likely will return to the lineup to bolster the fourth line. McDonald has missed five straight games with a hip injury.
"The way he plays the game is physical," Capuano said. "It's tough to come back from that [injury] right away, so it's good that we gave him some time. But the last few days he's looked real good in practice and [is] pain-free. It will be good to get him back in there."
The Hurricanes are dealing with injuries and a three-game losing streak. Coach Kirk Muller felt the time was right to introduce a veteran presence to the team.
"You can never have enough experience, [plus] the value of faceoffs and killing some penalties," Muller said. "Being just a mentor to some guys in our lineup. I think his experience on and off the ice will be huge for our group."
Malhotra lost much of the vision in his left eye when he was injured during a game in March 2011. He has played a limited role since then, but said he has full clearance by doctors to return to play.
"My vision is not what it was; it never will be, but it's fine," he said. "I'm accustomed to what I do have."
RALEIGH --Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi's streak of 276 consecutive games played will come to an end when the Pens play the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. Scuderi left the game Saturday against Toronto with a lower-body injury, the result of a first-period hit and did not return.
"Rob has returned to Pittsburgh today and he will be re-evaluated by our doctors this afternoon," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "We will know more in the next 24 hours."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Rehabbing an injury never is an enjoyable process for a professional athlete. Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu has been waging that battle for quite a while.
Two hip surgeries in the past calendar year were bad enough. Then came a leg injury in the preseason that kept him out of the lineup until a game Sunday against the Phoenix Coyotes, in which he logged 10:28 of ice time.
"Every time you come off an injury, at least from my point of view, the other guys are always going left and right," Ruutu said. "The game speed is so different from practice or if you're skating by yourself. But once you get that first hit and that first shot, you stop thinking about it and start playing."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After a much-needed rest following a Tuesday night matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in which he allowed five goals on 37 shots, Cam Ward appears ready to return to the Hurricanes crease in time to face one of the NHL's top teams.
Despite Carolina coach Kirk Muller not holding a formal pre-game skate, Ward took to the ice Friday to face a few shots in anticipation of team's game against the Los Angeles Kings. Ward has faced 75 shots in his two appearances this season, posting a 0-1-1 record with a 3.90 goals-against average and .893 save percentage. So he will likely be busy against the Kings, especially considering the Hurricanes allow an average of 31.2 shots per game.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- While the Detroit Red Wings already have played a game -- a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday -- the Carolina Hurricanes will be among the final teams to begin the regular season when the puck drops Friday here at PNC Arena.
The Hurricanes will have plenty to prove, coming off a 13th-place finish in the Eastern Conference last season. Carolina coach Kirk Muller said his team is itching to start after a week-long layoff since the final preseason game.
"These guys are programmed to practice one or two days, then play a game," Muller said. "Once the season started [for other teams] and they were watching games, you could see them getting a little anxious. It's nice that it's finally here and they're mentally prepared for a big season."
Here are the projected lineups for the game Friday between the Red Wings and Hurricanes:
Both players will play key roles in Carolina. Khudobin will provide insurance for goaltender Cam Ward, who missed more than half of last season with a sprained MCL. Although he has just 21 games of NHL experience, Khudobin's numbers have been eye-popping: a 2.03 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. Ward is known for carrying a heavy workload, but the Hurricanes would like to rely on a backup who can shoulder enough games to take the heat off the starter.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers will have a chance to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth Thursday night when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes. One thing they will need is a bigger offensive push than they gave in Tuesday's 3-2 loss against the Florida Panthers.
"We need to forecheck better and establish a net presence," said Rick Nash, who leads the Rangers with 19 goals. "We got a lot of shots (against Florida), but they were from the outside -- no traffic. The goalies in this League are world-class and you've got to be able to put some bodies in front of them."
The Rangers will clinch a playoff spot with any combination of two points gained in their final two games, or a loss by the Winnipeg Jets to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Against Carolina, New York hopes to add some diversity to its offensive game and remove any doubt about the postseason.
"[We want to] get to the dirty areas, maybe spread the offensive zone out and use the points a little bit," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We talked about trying to use our D, and if we don't get the puck on net, at least draw the forwards out and maybe get a quick 2-on-1 in front of the net or something like that. Just try to be a little more creative in the offensive zone."
For Carolina, Alexander Semin will miss the final two games of the season with a concussion.
Here are the projected lineups for the Rangers and the Hurricanes:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- For the first three Staal brothers, NHL success came quickly. First Eric, followed by Jordan, then Marc.
That was not the end of the family pipeline, however.
A fourth Staal, Jared, will make his NHL debut Thursday night, skating with Eric and Jordan for the Carolina Hurricanes. Marc is in town, too, with the New York Rangers, but he won't be able to round out the on-ice family photo, as he recovers from an eye injury.
Jared's route to the NHL has been nothing like those of his older brothers. Eric, Jordan and Marc were first-round draft picks, jumping straight to the NHL out of juniors. They cast long shadows on their youngest brother -- but not so long that the NHL dream ever went away.
"Obviously I have a different path than my three older brothers," Jared Staal said. "They're all exceptional players who deserved to be in the NHL at a young age. I guess mine is more conventional compared to most hockey players."
After missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs five straight seasons, the Islanders have a shot at clinching a berth in the Eastern Conference. If New York beats the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Winnipeg Jets lose to the Washington Capitals, the Islanders are in.
If there are any jitters among the team, they didn't show after the morning skate.
"It's an exciting week for us," Islanders captain Mark Streit said. "We've been playing pretty well, and the mindset has been to take it game by game. Whatever happens with Winnipeg happens. But it's getting closer. We'll concentrate on the game and how we want to play as a team."
Skinner sat out Thursday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets. He was on the receiving end of an open-ice hit from the Ottawa Senators' Jared Cowen on Tuesday night. Skinner did not return during the game and was returned here for observation.
Upon returning home, team doctors determined he did not suffer a concussion.
"I respect the decision the doctor made," Skinner said. "I agree you have to be safe and cautious."
The Hurricanes have reminded the 20-year-old forward to be aware of vulnerable places on the ice, particularly in light of his knack for drawing contact.
"Maybe I shouldn't have been cutting across [the neutral zone] there," Skinner said. "I saw the guy, but I didn't think he would step up there, but he did. I don't think there's a point in dwelling on it. It's done, so you move forward."
RALEIGH, N.C. -Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton will sit out for the second game in a row, but not because he's falling short of expectations.
Boston coach Claude Julien wants to give Hamilton a breather, just to make sure he is rested and ready for the stretch run.
"The rest is the only reason he's been sitting out. It's certainly not because of his play," said Julien, who had a lengthy discussion with Hamilton at the end of the morning skate. "One thing we've done as an organization is developed our young guys properly, and I think he's progressed very well this year. We want him to get some rest. With fatigue, you get bad habits. We don't want that to creep into his game."
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron practiced with the Bruins, but he remains out of the lineup following a concussion.
"As long as he's feeling good, he gets a chance to practice with us," Julien said. "He's cleared for contact, but light contact so far. He still needs final clearance from the doctors, and hopefully sooner than later."
Here are the likely lineups for this game between the Bruins and Hurricanes:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk will return to the lineup Tuesday after missing the past nine games with a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Faulk is Carolina's leader in ice time, skating 23:23 per night. Carolina sent defenseman Brett Bellemore to Charlotte of the American Hockey League to open a roster spot.
"Your first game, you want to show what you can do for the guys," said Bishop, who has a 2.45 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. "At the same time, I've been doing this for a little bit now and one game is not going to make the year."
His first challenge, he figures, is getting to know his teammates before he takes the ice Thursday night.
"The biggest thing is trying to learn everybody's names on the ice real quick and not have to think about it before you call their name," he said. "So that will be the hardest thing. After a couple days I'm sure I will have it down."
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur is ready to return after missing 13 games with a pinched nerve in his neck. The Devils were 3-8-2 in his absence, as Johan Hedberg made all 13 starts. Brodeur, who last played on Feb. 21, has an 8-2-3 mark and a 2.27 goals-against average.
The Hurricanes will work forward Tuomo Ruutu into the lineup for the first time this season, after recovering from hip surgery in December. The team activated him from injured reserve Thursday.
“He’s excited and ready to go,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. “We waited to see what the right opportunity was for him. I said, ‘Listen, when you feel comfortable, let me know.’ He felt comfortable enough this morning to say, ‘I’m ready."
Eric Selleck will make his NHL debut, adding some toughness to Florida's roster in the absence of George Parros. Selleck has 16 points and 181 penalty minutes in 60 games with San Antonio of the American Hockey League this season.
"I don't know how many shifts I'm going to get, so the early ones count," Selleck said. "We've got a game plan, so I'll just try to keep it simple and stick to my role."
Selleck's role is no mystery to either team -- and that simplifies his approach.
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Carolina Hurricanes will begin a long stretch of hockey without goaltender Cam Ward, who suffered a third-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sunday and will miss 6-8 weeks.
The Hurricanes will turn over the net to Justin Peters on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres, after his recall from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. Dan Ellis still is battling an illness, but will serve as the backup. This will mark the fourth straight season Peters has seen time in the Carolina goal.
"We're going to go with his energy and give him an opportunity to jump right in and play," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "He's had a great first half down in Charlotte, so he should have confidence. He should look at all the experiences leading up to now and just go out and play hockey and get the job done."
Buffalo will get its top scorer back against Carolina. Thomas Vanek, who has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, will bring his 27 points to the Sabres' offense.
"It's great to see [Vanek] out there, especially to get some work on the power play, and what he means to that phase of our game," Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said. "Any time you lose a player of that quality, it's certainly a dent in your lineup. I'm looking forward to getting him back in there."
Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday's game:
After about two weeks of playing without a number of their regulars, the Carolina Hurricanes are welcoming back the majority of their walking wounded.
Two days after activating Tim Gleason and Tim Brent from injured reserve and welcoming back Jeff Skinner, who had been out with a concussion, the team announced that defenseman Joni Pitkanen has been activated from injured reserve.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The injuries are mounting for the Carolina Hurricanes, including a concussion to forward Jeff Skinner that will sideline the third-year player indefinitely.
For Skinner, this marks the second concussion of his career. He was sidelined for more than a month after a December 2011 hit by the Edmonton Oilers' Andy Sutton. Skinner's loss will be felt immediately; he had 14 points in his first 13 games.
"[Skinner] is a big part of the team this year," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "You see the big timely goals he was getting. We've got to adapt. We've got some guys that -- bottom line -- have to step up and contribute and help the hockey club win."
The Senators are beginning to deal with the reality of playing a couple months without center Jason Spezza, who is out after surgery to fix a herniated disc in his back.
"Jason is one of those special players in the League that can make something out of nothing," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "We don't have someone like that to go in there, but we certainly feel very confident about the depth of our team to play with four lines and to play with tempo."
While Spezza's offense will be missed, MacLean said he expects to learn more about his forward group in Spezza's absence.
"We're actually excited by the fact that it's a great opportunity, not only for individuals, but for the team, to play," he said. "It's not necessarily who's out, but who's in. Let's come and play hard. They're not going to wait for us. We're really more concerned about the players who are available to play."
Guillaume Latendresse, who has the flu, is expected to miss Friday's game at Carolina and Sunday's game at Montreal.
For the Hurricanes, Dan Ellis will start in goal for the second time in three games. He stopped 40 of 41 shots in a 3-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 25.
Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin will make his first start of the season Monday. He is 5-1-0 in seven career NHL games, with a 1.32 goals against average. In his only previous action with Boston, he posted a 3-1 win against Ottawa last April.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Boston Bruins will have a decision to make in the next 24 hours concerning the future of rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
The 19-year-old blueliner will play his fifth game of the season Monday against Carolina. The first season of his three-year entry-level contract kicks in if he plays in a sixth NHL game, which for the Bruins is Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.
"Upper management will make that decision, but from our end of it, he's been really good," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He's better and better every game as he gains confidence. I've really liked his composure and vision of the game. He's been extremely good for us."
Before joining the Bruins at the start of the NHL season, Hamilton had 41 points in 32 games with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, and had a goal and an assist in six games for Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
He said he's looking forward to having his status resolved.
"It will be really nice," Hamilton said. "I'm trying not to think about it too much. I'm just trying to work my hardest and keep playing my game."
Gerbe has been cleared to play after off-season back surgery and will join the lineup tonight, paired with Ott and Grigorenko.
"Nathan's got a natural goal-scoring touch, so I think he's got some finish to him," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's got real good speed and we're hoping he can create a little bit of offense for us."
Enroth makes his first start of the season in goal for Buffalo. In two career games against Carolina, Enroth has a 0.49 goals-against average.
Carolina forward Andreas Nodl skated with the team Thursday morning, but Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said he is unlikely to dress. He has missed seven games recovering from a concussion. Instead, Spacek will join the lineup as the seventh defenseman.
Alexei Ponikarovsky will play his first game against Carolina since the Hurricanes dealt him to the Devils on Jan. 20. Ponikarovsky was in his first season with Carolina, but struggled to make an impact as the team fell to 15th in the Eastern Conference. After registering 15 points in 49 games in Carolina, he has accounted for 16 in just 29 games in New Jersey.
"We're playing pretty good as a team," Ponikarovsky said. "When you're in a playoff spot, it's a little different than when you're out of the playoffs. The atmosphere and everything else is a little different, for sure. Our focus is to win some games and get some points on the board."
Antropov returns to the lineup for the Jets after missing the past five games with a lower-body injury. Mason will get the start in goal for Winnipeg, his fifth in six games against the Hurricanes this season. Ward will make his sixth consecutive start for Carolina.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After travelling from Philadelphia following their 2-1 win against the Flyers, the Panthers opted not to practice today.
For the Hurricanes, they'll get defenseman Joni Pitkanen back in the lineup after a 44-game absence. He suffered a concussion in early December and then had knee surgery in January. He has 3 goals and 9 assists in 21 games for Carolina this season.
Here are the lineups the teams could use when they take the ice here at PNC Arena:
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock is giving forward Jason Arnott the next two games off to overcome a variety of recent injuries. With 16 goals and 32 points, Arnott is a key figure as the Blues prepare for the playoffs.
"We'll bit the bullet," said Hitchcock. "That allows him to have a full week off before he plays again. Arnie was in a situation where he was trying to play through injuries and it wasn't fair to him. I think he was 50 percent of the player we had before. He was a really good player for us three weeks ago. Then he got banged up and tried to play through it, but it doesn't work that way."
After a lengthy practice in Raleigh on Wednesday, St. Louis had a light turnout for an optional skate Thursday morning.
Brian Elliott, with an NHL-best 1.61 goals against average, will get the start against the Hurricanes.
Meanwhile, this is the projected lineup for the Hurricanes based off their morning skate:
Hurricanes forward Chad LaRose returns to the Carolina lineup Saturday night after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. His return leads to a juggling of the forward lines, but a lot of the focus will be on stopping Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, who leads the NHL with 45 goals.
"We've got to stop Stamkos. He's on fire," said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller. "Our D pairings are going to be important and our awareness of him."
After Tampa Bay's 4-3 overtime win against the Rangers on Friday night, the team arrived in Raleigh late due to weather conditions. They did not skate Saturday morning.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thursday's game between the Rangers and Hurricanes will be the first time Hurricanes forward Eric Staal and his brother, Rangers defensemen Marc Staal, have played against each other since Eric's big hit put Marc out of the lineup last February with a concussion.
"I enjoy competing against him," said Eric. "I enjoy the fact that I'm playing a game I love and he is, too. He wasn't (playing) last time (in New York), so that was difficult for me."
Then Staal quickly added with a laugh, "And the fact that I got booed every time I touched (the puck) -- that was different. It will be good to put this game behind us and focus on our teams."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After sitting out deadline day, the Hurricanes will ice their regular lineup -- one that is still missing several injured players. But Cam Ward will return to the net for Carolina, after missing four starts with a lower-body injury.
The Hurricanes have filled out the roster with several of their American Hockey League prospects, including Zach Boychuk, who was called up Tuesday. Against Nashville, Kirk Muller will skate eight forwards who are 25 years old or younger.
"They're capable of beating anyone when they play a good, honest game," Muller said. "This is our group. There's no cavalry coming. This is who who we are, and we've got to push and see what happens from here on in."
The Predators, coming off Monday night's 2-1 win over Los Angeles, were unable to travel after the game due to foggy weather conditions. When they arrive on Tuesday, they will have two new deadline acquistions in the lineup. Andrei Kostitsyn -- the older brother of Nashville forward Sergei Kostitsyn -- joins the Predators from Montreal, while Paul Gaustad comes over from Buffalo.
The Florida Panthers had a bit of a new look Saturday morning after the Friday acquisition of forward Jerred Smithson, who came from Nashville in exchange for a 2012 sixth-round draft pick.
Smithson had spent the past seven seasons with the Predators. With 89 points in 527 NHL games, he brings a reputation as a strong faceoff man who finishes his checks.
"It's definitely a new experience for me. I've never been traded before," Smithson said. "It happened so fast I didn't get a chance to sit down and take it all in last night until I got to the hotel. But I'm excited. It was a long time in Nashville, but it will be good to get a fresh start."
As far as making the quick transition to a new team, Smithson wasn't worried.
"There's an easy part -- the guys are always good," he said. "I'll just go in there and do my thing and try to fit in."
Carolina will give Justin Peters his third straight start in goal. The Hurricanes had hoped to have Cam Ward back in the net Saturday night, but coach Kirk Muller insisted that Ward continues to make progress with his lower-body injury. Muller said the team is just being extra cautious.
Florida coach Kevin Dineen did not name a starting goaltender. He will make a game-time decision.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau is making his first trip to Carolina as the Ducks' bench boss, but the stop over in Raleigh is a familiar one from his days with Washington. So he knows a thing or two about the Hurricanes.
That's why he seemed genuinely concerned about facing goaltender Justin Peters, who has made 26 NHL appearances over three seasons. In his last outing, Peters recorded his first NHL shutout, a 5-0 effort against the Capitals.
"I'm always leery against guys like that," said Boudreau, whose Capitals faced Peters twice in previous seasons. "I've seen Justin a lot, and when he's on, he’s on. He's probably feeling pretty good about himself coming off his first shutout."
Peters has appeared in three straight games after a call-up from Charlotte. He won a 3-2 decision against San Jose last Friday, before replacing injured Cam Ward (lower body) in a Saturday loss to the New York Islanders. He stopped 17 shots to defeat Washington on Monday.
"I've seen it happen so many times, that you face guys that aren't used to being in the limelight -- and then for short periods of time, they can be superhuman," Boudreau said. "Then they end up coming back to earth with one game. There's a reason they're in the minors for so many years, but then they come in and stand on their head and they look as good as anybody. (Peters) is in one of those modes, and the team is in that mindset. It makes for a tough game."
Tonight's game is the final outing in an eight-game road trip for the Ducks, in which they have posted a 4-1-2 mark.
Defenseman Mike Green played his first game Saturday night since undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia Jan. 17. By itself, the injury didn't knock him out of the lineup, but he could tell he wasn't the same player.
"For the longest time before the surgery, even though I wasn't sore, I didn't have my skating stride," Green said. "I couldn't skate as well as I used to."
He said he could feel the improvement immediately after the surgery. Green played 14:14 in a 2-1 loss Saturday to Tampa Bay. Now he wants more ice time.
"Fourteen minutes felt like four minutes for me," he said. "I told (coach Dale Hunter) I want to play more, that I feel good, so we'll see."
With Green back in the lineup, Hunter said he will consider dressing seven defenseman against Carolina.
Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game:
Justin Peters will get the start in goal for the Hurricanes, after Cam Ward tweaked a lower-body injury Saturday night and had to leave the game against the New York Islanders. Mike Murphy, who appeared in his first two NHL games in December, was called up from Charlotte to serve as the backup. Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller described Ward's status as day-to-day.
With unfavorable weather conditions in Raleigh on Thursday night, the Sharks were forced to fly in Friday morning for this evening's game. As a result, they did not have a morning skate.
Based on Thursday night's lineup in Tampa Bay, this a possible lineup for Friday night's game against Carolina. However, forward Dominic Moore, acquired from Tampa Bay before Thursday night's game, is likely to make his debut with the Sharks.
Justin Peters will start in goal for the Hurricanes, making his first start since losing at Nashville, 5-2, on Jan. 7. It will mark Peters' first home start of the season.
Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said goaltender Cam Ward is getting an extra day off to rest a "tweak" -- but nothing more serious than that. Ward took the morning skate with Carolina and will serve as the backup.
The New York Islanders will have American Hockey League callup Kevin Poulin between the pipes against the Carolina Hurricanes when the teams meet Tuesday night at the RBC Center. Poulin, who made 51 saves in Bridgeport's 6-2 win over Adirondack Friday night, is making his third start of the season for the Islanders.
Here's how the lineups for both sides are projected to look:
The Jets have had the Hurricanes' number this season, winning the first three games between the Southeast Division rivals. Winnipeg backup goaltender Chris Mason has been in the net for all of them, twice as the starter, once in relief. He has surrendered just four goals in the process.
"I don't really have an explanation," Mason said. "I haven't played against them a ton. I've had the three games against them this year and I've done pretty good. There's other teams I have played against a lot more and I don't have success against, even though I may have a better idea of what guys are going to do."
Given Mason's record against Carolina, Winnipeg coach Claude Noel didn't need to ponder the goaltending choice very long.
"If a guy has success against a team and feels comfortable, it's a pretty easy decision," he said. "But there's no guarantees in a game. Carolina's been going good. They've played a lot of low-scoring games. It's going to be all we can handle. Mason's going to have to be good."
Cam Ward will make his eighth straight start for Carolina. In his current stretch of seven consecutive starts, Ward has allowed no more than two goals in any game, good for a 3-2-2 mark.
RALEIGH -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner will not make his return to the lineup tonight against the Boston Bruins after missing 15 games with a concussion. Skinner went through the morning skate and did stickhandling drills with the assistant coaches afterwards, but the staff is being cautious before allowing his return.
"If there's any question mark or any uncertainty, we want to make sure he's 100 percent," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "He had another workout today. We have back-to-back games here, so hopefully we will get him ready for tomorrow (at Washington)."
Defenseman Tyler Myers returns after missing 19 games with a broken wrist, suffered Nov. 19 against Phoenix.
Because Myers was able to skate during his absence, his conditioning should not be a major factor in his ability to log important minutes -- he's second on the team with an average ice time of 21:39 per game.
"We're hoping he can lead our (defense) in ice time tonight," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. "We're not going to hold back. The goal is to get him right back in the groove and play him plus-20 minutes."
Myers had just 6 points through 19 games at the time of the injury, and had been a healthy scratch in November for the first time in his career. The 21-year-old defenseman said he's focused on physical play as a key part of making his return successful.
"I think a lot of it is the mental side of the game," Myers said. "When I play physical, it gets me into the game more. It's hard to specify, but now that I've figured out that it does happen, I need to do it every night."
Here's how the rest of the Sabres' lineup -- as well as the Hurricanes' -- could look tonight:
Jason Labarbera will start in goal for Phoenix, after Mike Smith left the game Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers with a lower-body injury. Whether not Smith will dress as the backup is to be determined.
The Hurricanes have recalled center Riley Nash from the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers to replace Tim Brent, who suffered an injury during practice Tuesday. The game will mark Nash's NHL debut.
Jeff Skinner, who is out with a concussion, has been placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 7.
Here are the projected lineups for when these two teams meet Wednesday night at RBC Center:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After six consecutive starts by Roberto Luongo, the Canucks will turn to Cory Schneider in goal against Carolina. Here are the projected lineups for both teams as they get set to meet Thursday night at RBC Centre.
Forward Jeff Skinner, the Hurricanes' leading scorer, and defenseman Joni Pitkanen have been diagnosed with concussions and will be out of the lineup indefinitely.
Skinner took a big hit last Wednesday from Edmonton defenseman Andy Sutton and has missed the past two games. Pitkanen had been injured one night earlier in Calgary, leaving the game in the second period.
"We sent Pitkanen back home off the road trip, and he went to the doctor a few days ago," Carolina General Manager Jim Rutherford said Wednesday. "In Jeff Skinner's case, he saw the doctor today. We didn't know for sure until he was diagnosed with one."
The news couldn't be much worse for Carolina. The team is 15th in the East and just 1-5-1 since Kirk Muller replaced Paul Maurice as coach Nov. 28.
Skinner, the 2011 Calder Trophy winner, has been one of the bright spots for Carolina, with 12 goals and 12 assists in 30 games. Pitkanen leads the Hurricanes' defensive corps in scoring with 12 points in 21 games. He also leads the team in average ice time per game at 22:35.
Rutherford said there is no timetable for the return of either player.
"We just follow whatever the doctor tells us," he said. "You can't project when a player would return."
The chance of trading for players to offset the injuries looks bleak. Rutherford already had been pursuing trades prior to the latest injuries.
"There aren't any forwards out there on the trade market that could come in here and make a difference in our team," Rutherford said. "I know first-hand because I've been on the phone for three weeks, not only looking with a potential injury, but because we're a team that's potentially short a couple forwards to be one of the good teams.
"We just have to work together as a team and work our way out of the situation we're in and deal with the present."
The team already has addressed Skinner's roster spot by recalling forward Drayson Bowman from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. Bowman, who played Tuesday in Toronto, has 3 points in 35 NHL games spread across the last three seasons.
"We've got guys in the system we've been developing," Rutherford said. "We've talked about bringing younger players in, and that's where we will look to."
With no timetable for the return of Skinner or Pitkanen, Rutherford plans to be patient. He acknowledged that the two players could potentially be out of the lineup for a long stretch.
"Could be -- and if it is, it is," he said. "This is a real serious thing to deal with."
The Hurricanes also are shorthanded by the loss of defenseman Jay Harrison, who has missed the last nine games with an upper-body injury. Backup goaltender Brian Boucher has been out the past four games with a lower-body injury.
The Hurricanes next play Thursday, when they host Vancouver.
RALEIGH, N.C. --Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who was held off the scoresheet Thursday against Washington for the second time in six games this season, is still finding his comfort level following his long absence with post-concussion symptoms.
"Some things are right where they need to be, other things aren't as consistent," the Penguins captain said. "Some things aren't near where they need to be. It's doing it over the course of the season."
After scoring twice in his first game back, Crosby hasn't found the net in the Penguins past five games.
"Finishing is one thing that takes a lot of focus,” he said. “You've got a split second to put a shot where you want to and you've got guys on you. It takes time getting into those areas and comfortable. That's something I want to improve on. I know it's going to take some time getting back into things."
The Penguins will turn to backup goaltender Brent Johnson tonight against Carolina. He will be looking for his second win of the season (1-3-2).
Carolina coach Kirk Muller did not confirm a starter in goal.
Here’s a look at the projected lineups for both teams in their matchup Saturday night at RBC Center:
The Rangers are giving backup goaltender Martin Biron his fifth start of the season in place of starter Henrik Lundqvist. Here are the other lineup spots for the Rangers and Hurricanes for tonight's game.
John MacLean, who earned his first head-coaching job one season ago in New Jersey, was fired after the Devils got off to a disastrous 9-22-2 start. Joining the Carolina staff marks his first return to an NHL job.
"I didn't think it would happen this quick, but I'm excited about it," MacLean said after Thursday's morning skate. "As soon as the opportunity arose, my passion came right back for the game to get back into it. I'm very excited to be part of it."
MacLean and Muller broke into the NHL together in 1984-85 with the New Jersey Devils, MacLean as a 19-year-old, Muller as an 18-year-old. They played together for seven seasons. They reunited toward the end of their careers, skating on the Dallas Stars' fourth line from 2000-2002. That unit, along with Mike Keane, was known as "The Grumpy Old Men."
"Johnny's going to run the PK and have a defined role," said Muller. "He's going to be behind the bench with me. He's going to grab forwards individually. We've got some young guys who can benefit from board work and little details in the game that are going to be really important."
The two men enjoyed similar production and longevity during their playing days. Muller registered 959 points in 1,349 regular season games, while MacLean put up 842 points in 1,194 games.
Even their apprenticeships as NHL coaches were similar. Muller spent five years in Montreal as an assistant before landing his first head-coaching job with Carolina, while MacLean spent six years in a support role in New Jersey. Through all of it, they have stayed in close contact.
"As far as being friends," said MacLean, "sometimes it helps that you can be brutally honest with situations and just know that it's for the good."
That will start with his evaluation of Carolina's penalty kill.
"Not major changes," he said, speaking of the NHL's 26th-rated unit. "There's maybe a little different thought to it, understanding (positioning) and stick position. We'll just try to baby step it through. The personnel is fine. The one thing this team does have is speed, and that's helpful in killing penalties. We have some guys that could be high-end penalty killers."
MacLean emphasized several times the nature of his new position — a support role for Muller. He's move beyond his first experience as a bench boss, and he's ready to help in Carolina.
"You're wounded, hurt, whatever," MacLean said. "You understand that it's part of the game and you get through it. You lick your wounds and get on it."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Kirk Muller will make his NHL coaching debut tonight, one day after replacing Paul Maurice as the Carolina head coach. He met his players before the morning skate on Tuesday, and his message to them was simple.
"We told them it's a clean slate," Muller said. "Just bring energy tonight. It's pretty hard to walk in and change all the x's and o's. I just asked them to work hard and be accountable to each other, come with some life and energy."
His counterpart, Kevin Dineen in Florida, is also a rookie NHL coach. He makes his first visit to Carolina, where he was the Carolina captain toward the end of his playing career. He expects the Hurricanes to react well to a new voice behind the bench.
"(Muller's) got a long depth of experience as an NHL assistant," Dineen said. "He's a fabulous hockey mind. His joyful enthusiasm sometimes masks his intelligence. He's such a quality person and he's going to be a very good coach for a long time."
RALEIGH, N.C. -- After 13 consecutive starts by Ondrej Pavelec in goal, the Jets will turn to backup Chris Mason Friday night against Carolina. Mason earned his only win of the season against the Hurricanes Oct. 22, coming in in relief to stop 18 of 19 shots.
"We just need to rest Pavelec," coach Claude Noel said. "Mason is really a fierce competitor. We had to get him back playing. For us, it's getting him to be part of the team. He's one of the leaders in our room."
Mason, who has appeared in four games, knows the keys to returning to the lineup after a layoff.
"I want to focus on controlling rebounds and covering pucks when I can, slow it down a bit," he said. "Those are the biggest things when you haven't played in a while. You can simulate those situations (in practice) but when you have three or four guys crashing the net and a big pile of guys around, that's the hardest part for me."
The Hurricanes will be without defenseman Jay Harrison, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He will be replaced by Derek Joslin.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Montreal forward Erik Cole makes his first visit to Carolina after signing a four-year contract with the Canadiens at the start of free agency last July. Always one of Carolina's most popular players, Cole is familiar with returning to Raleigh in another NHL uniform. He was traded to Edmonton before the 2008-09 season, only to be brought back at the trade deadline later that season.
"No matter what the circumstances are, even with being traded to Edmonton, you commit to it and commit to your teammates," Cole said on Wednesday morning. "It's part of the job. There are some things in this business you can't control no matter who you are playing for. You just come to work every day and play hard."
Montreal coach Jacques Martin said Hal Gill will return to the lineup after missing time with a virus. Martin did not reveal which defenseman will come out of the lineup.
Now that a few days have passed since Washington coach Bruce Boudreau sat Alex Ovechkin in the final moments of a game Tuesday night against Anaheim, the coach said Friday morning the story didn't deserve the attention it received.
"There was no football, there was no basketball, there was nothing else going on," Boudreau said after the Capitals' morning skate in Raleigh. "So they made a big deal out of nothing."
The Capitals were trailing by a goal with 1:27 left in regulation when Boudreau called a timeout. He didn’t put Ovechkin on the ice then, nor did he do so with 1:02 left when there was another stoppage in play and he pulled goaltender Tomas Vokoun for an extra attacker. Nicklas Backstrom wound up scoring the game-tying goal with 42 seconds left, as well as the winner in overtime.
"It's all about accountability, but it was way overblown," said Boudreau. "[Ovechkin] wasn't benched or anything; he just wasn't chosen to go out the last minute. I've done it many different times with many different players. You have a hunch and you go with it. I just thought the other guys were going to score."
With the Hurricanes looking for more offense on the top line, Tlusty will play the left wing alongside Staal and LaRose. Stewart returns to the Hurricanes lineup after missing one game with a lower-body injury. He replaces Brett Sutter.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is out with a hip flexor injury. Daugavins has been recalled from Binghamton and will take his place in the lineup. According to coach Paul MacLean, Daugavins might start the game in Alfredsson's spot on Mika Zibanejad's line.
David Krejci is out of the lineup. He remains day-to-day with a core injury. He will be replaced on the top line by Tyler Seguin. Forward Jordan Caron will return to the lineup after two games as a healthy scratch.
When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.
— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions