2 Canes 2 Blue Jackets. Canes vs. Blue Jackets 2: Hockey Harder. (It’s a rematch as Carolina goes for a two-game sweep of Columbus!)
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with line combinations, roster notes, videos, photos and more as the day rolls on.
A quick preview of tonight’s game can be found below. Check back here later this morning for more, as the Canes take the ice at PNC Arena for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate.
HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER NIGHT
As a part of a league-wide initiative to raise awareness for the fight against cancer, the Hurricanes will host their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night tonight.
Cancer support and research groups will be stationed throughout the concourse, and these groups will be the recipients of funds gathered through the sale of baskets featuring selected Hockey Fights Cancer special edition warm-up jerseys.
Additionally, the Canes will be donating $5,000 from the NHL and NHLPA to the REX Foundation and the REX Angel Fund, which help patients with financial challenges during their cancer treatment.
Fans will have the opportunity to share who they fight for with special Hockey Fights Cancer cards on the concourse at sections 108 and 114 and on the REX Wing third level concourse at the west escalators.
More information on Hockey Fights Cancer Night can be found here
BEFORE THE FACEOFF
Amber Jaye sets the table for tonight's match-up on Hockey Fights Cancer Night.
LINEUP NOTES AND PETERS QUOTES
Brad Malone and Tim Gleason are expected to be the scratches tonight. John-Michael Liles draws back into the lineup after being a healthy extra for the last three games, and Jiri Tlusty looks to be available to play, according to head coach Bill Peters.
"Final tests here this morning," Peters said. "I anticipate him playing. He said he felt good, so I think he’ll be in.”
And if he is in the lineup, Peters has no plans to scale back his minutes. Tlusty skated on the first line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin in the morning skate.
"If they clear him, I’m going to play him just like normal," he siad. "He felt good after the game and has continued to feel good. He has passed all of his tests, and we’ll play him normal minutes.”
One final quote from Peters on the type of game he expects from Columbus tonight: "When they’re playing their game and they’re on top of it, they are a strong and heavy team," Peters said. "They come after you with all four lines, and we anticipate that here tonight.”
CANES GO FOR FOUR IN A ROW
The Carolina Hurricanes are streaking, and they’ll look to make it four in a row when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to town to put a bow on a home-and-home set.
A 4-2 victory in Columbus on Tuesday night marked the third straight victory for Carolina in what was a physical, tight contest between two teams who seem to be developing a bit of a divisional rivalry.
“Even more physical and more intense, and probably a better game all-around by both teams,” head coach Bill Peters said when asked what he expected in round two. “I think it will be a quicker game and as physical, if not more physical.”
The physicality boiled over in the third period when forward Jiri Tlusty left the game after receiving an illegal check to the head from Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson. Tlusty did not return to the game, and Johnson was subsequently suspended for three games.
Fortunately for the Hurricanes, Tlusty may be in the lineup tonight. He skated with no contact in practice on Wednesday and has so far responded positively to testing protocol.
“He said he felt fine after the game, and you just don’t know with those situations,” Peters said on Wednesday. “We’ll see how he makes out the rest of the day and tomorrow, and I hope he’ll be able to play. If he is, we’ll use him.”
Defenseman Tim Gleason did not practice on Wednesday. John-Michael Liles, who has been a healthy scratch for the last three games, skated in his stead next to Jay Harrison.
Cam Ward will get his fifth straight start in net, and he has backstopped the Canes to three consecutive victories. In that stretch, he has posted a 1.34 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage.
“We’ll go with Cam and then reassess with the back-to-back with Washington the next day,” Peters said. “We’ll stay with Wardo right now and go game-by-game.”
Goaltending, Peters mentioned, has been a key cog in the Canes’ current win streak.
“Everything starts to come together when you get a save. When you get a key save early in the game, it buys you time to get on the board,” Peters said. “Next thing you know, you have a lead, and if you can extend the lead, it becomes a lot easier.”
NOTES: The Canes will wear their black alternate sweaters for the second time this season. They are currently 1-0-0 in their third jerseys this season after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 on Nov. 1. Carolina is now 42-28-6 all-time in the black threads. … Elias Lindholm (3g, 1a) and Riley Nash (1g, 2a) each have points in three straight games.