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Posted On Friday, 02.27.2015 / 1:39 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Capitals at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Washington Capitals will try to stop a two-game losing streak when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

With a 15-8-3 mark since the start of 2015, Washington has done its part to stay in position for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the tightly-bunched Metropolitan Division, but that's all the more reason to halt the current skid.

"We're in position still, but losing two in a row is something we've got to squash right now," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "Tonight's a big game for us, jockeying for playoff position. That's important, but what's even more important is how we play on a consistent basis."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.24.2015 / 1:10 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Philadelphia Flyers will continue to take aim on the second Eastern Conference wild-card berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

An 8-1-4 stretch has the Flyers four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the East.

"We've climbed back from a deep hole but we still have a long ways to go," said Wayne Simmonds, who leads Philadelphia with 24 goals. "I think we just need to keep our heads down and keep playing solid hockey. Hopefully we can grab that last spot."

With goaltenders Steve Mason and Ray Emery injured, Rob Zepp will make his eighth start this season. Mason skated Tuesday morning but Flyers coach Craig Berube said he is not ready to return.

"It's good. He's in there, he's getting some work," Berube said. "That's what he needs."

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Posted On Friday, 02.20.2015 / 1:30 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A lot has changed since  the Toronto Maple Leafs visited the Carolina Hurricanes in mid-December.

When the Maple Leafs came to Raleigh on Dec. 18, they were riding a six-game winning streak, sitting comfortably in a Stanley Cup Playoff spot with a 19-9-3 record.

Toronto lost 4-1 to Carolina that night, beginning the stretch of play that has resulted in a 4-21-2 mark.

In the two months since then, the the Maple Leafs haven't found a solution to turn their fortunes around.

"If we had the answer to that I'm sure we wouldn't be on the slide we've been on," Maple Leafs forward Daniel Winnik said. "I don't think we've played bad hockey. I just think the goals have dried up for us."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.17.2015 / 5:28 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Islanders activated forward Michael Grabner off injured reserve prior to their game Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Forward Casey Cizikas will miss the game with a lower-body injury.

The Islanders and Hurricanes each traveled to Raleigh late Monday after playing elsewhere. Neither team held a morning skate.

The Islanders blew two, two-goal leads in a 6-5 loss to the New York Rangers. John Tavares and Frans Nielsen staked the Islanders to a 2-0 advantage, but the Rangers battled back for their first head-to-head win in four games this season. With 77 points, the Islanders hold a two-point lead over the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 1:04 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Ducks at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- After putting in a hard practice on Wednesday, the Anaheim Ducks will face the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night to complete a five-game road trip.

Part of the practice focused on defensive-zone responsibilities, following consecutive losses in which the Ducks allowed 11 combined goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, leaving Anaheim 1-2-1 on its road trip.

"You always hit points during the year where you get a little lazy, not necessarily paying attention to all the details that make a difference," said Ryan Getzlaf, whose overtime goal on Feb. 3 sealed a 5-4 home win against Carolina.

"It's not necessarily D-zone coverage that fails," he said. "Usually when you get scored on, it's a breakdown before you get to that point. So we wanted to shore up our neutral zone, as well as getting back and retrieving pucks and getting out of our zone faster."

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Posted On Friday, 01.30.2015 / 12:52 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The St. Louis Blues will be without forwards Patrik Berglund and Jori Lehtera when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at PNC Arena.

Berglund and Lehtera sustained upper-body injuries Thursday in a 5-4 shootout win against the Nashville Predators.

The Blues recalled forward Ty Rattie from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. Rattie, who has 17 goals and 28 points for the Wolves, played in the AHL All-Star Game. He played in two games for St. Louis last season.

The Blues, who have points in nine straight games (8-0-1), overcame a two-goal deficit against the Predators. Eleven players each recorded one point.

The Hurricanes will try to continue their best month of the season. Carolina's 0-6-2 start to the season is a distant memory now, as the Hurricanes have put together a 7-2-1 record in January.

"The thing that hasn't deviated is their work ethic," coach Bill Peters said. "It was good early when we didn't get the results, but it's continued to be good."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.27.2015 / 1:36 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tampa Bay Lightning leading scorer Tyler Johnson participated in the morning skate Tuesday, but he will be a game-time decision against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Johnson aggravated a lower-body injury in Tampa Bay's 4-1 road win against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 20.

"You can't really read too much into [the morning skate] though," said Johnson, who has 48 points through 46 games. "When I practiced [Monday], it was more about getting my hands working again. Today was a little bit better, but it's still just a pregame skate. It's tough to do any game-type stuff."

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Posted On Friday, 01.16.2015 / 12:48 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis will return to the lineup Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes after missing 22 games with a serious hip injury.

"We've been testing it in practice for the last month and with the team the last week, so I feel really confident," Hamhuis said. "I'm just going to approach the game with a simple focus. I've been out for a while but I have full confidence in my legs."

Hamhuis sustained the injury Nov. 20 against the Anaheim Ducks when his skate caught a rut, and his abductor muscle tore away from the hip. After a difficult rehab the veteran defenseman has made a point of attending meetings and participating with the team to stay sharp.

"Developing the physical part is one thing; being sharp mentally is another part that's probably just as important or more important," Hamhuis said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 12:21 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Hurricanes

RALEIGH -- The Carolina Hurricanes will try to continue their positive play when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes lost 5-4 in a shootout at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. The loss followed a stretch of three wins in four games.

"Going into St. Louis, scoring four times and never trailing, there are a lot of positives to take out of that game," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Definitely a step in the right direction."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 12:56 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sabres at Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes are hoping for an offensive boost Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres when Alexander Semin returns to the lineup after missing 12 of 13 games because of injury and illness.

The Hurricanes are in dire need of some scoring punch, having scored more than two goals once in the past 17 games. With one goal and six points in 22 games, Semin is emblematic of Carolina's offensive woes this season.

"The expectations haven't changed (for Semin)," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We've talked all year long. He knows what's expected of him."

Semin will join a line with Riley Nash and Jeff Skinner, who has eight goals in 35 games.

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He stuck his neck out there for us. I don't know what's wrong with him, but you see he was in pain. But he went back in there. He's a tough guy. You've got to give him credit for helping the boys out.

— Panthers forward Brandon Pirri on goalie Roberto Luongo, who returned to game on Tuesday against Maple Leafs after leaving earlier in the contest with an injury
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