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Gameday: Blues vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
A very sincere thank you to the all of the men and women who have served or currently serve in our armed forces. Today, the Hurricanes salute you and honor you for your sacrifices.


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to this afternoon’s Military Appreciation Day match-up featuring the St. Louis Blues and Carolina Hurricanes in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, videos, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

Because of the matinee 3 p.m. puck drop, the Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate. We’ll likely have lineup updates shortly after lunch but until then, a preview of today’s game is below.

Last updated: 2:45 p.m.



STAAL TRADED TO RANGERS
2:45 p.m.

You've probably heard or seen by now. The Carolina Hurricanes have dealt their captain and unrestricted free agent-to-be Eric Staal to the New York Rangers in exchange for forward prospect Aleksi Saarela and two second-round picks.


The Hurricanes will dress 17 skaters for today's game with no extra healthy bodies available.



HASHTAG AMERICA
1:15 p.m.

It's Military Appreciation Day at PNC Arena.




CANES LINEUP NOTES
1:05 p.m.

As of now, head coach Bill Peters plans on dressing the same 18 skaters and two goaltenders as Friday. That means no Andrej Nestrasil, Jay McClement or Justin Faulk, who remain out of the lineup with injuries. That also means Eric Staal, whose name is swirling in rumors with the trade deadline now just 26 hours out, will play. The only changes, Peters said, could be some tweaks in lines and pairings. Cam Ward will get the start in net.

A little more from the coach ...

On the impending trade deadline: "It's a tough time of year. You're changing lives and changing directions of player's careers."

On Eric Staal: "He's done everything you want for a guy who's a first-round pick, second overall. He's had a big, big impact on this club. I have nothing but respect for the guy."



CANES CLOSE OUT FEBRUARY AGAINST BLUES
6:00 a.m.

Exactly 24 hours prior to the NHL’s trade deadline, the Carolina Hurricanes will face off with the St. Louis Blues in their final game of February.

BLUES vs. HURRICANES
Blues vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 3 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
RECAP: CANES THWARTED BY RASK, BRUINS
VIDEOS
POSTGAME QUOTES: FEB. 26 vs. BOS
HIGHLIGHTS: BOS 4, CAR 1
GAMEDAY LINKS
BUY TICKETS
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY
SPECIAL SOUTH PLAZA EVENT
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
The Canes have posted a 5-5-2 record (12 points) in the second month of the calendar year and will finish the month playing eight of their last 10 games at home. 18 games remain in the 2015-16 regular season in March and early April and just seven of those are at home.

Following two consecutive regulation losses to Toronto and Boston on Thursday and Friday, respectively, the sun is setting on the Hurricanes’ playoff hopes. And with Monday’s trade deadline looming, uncertainty reigns.

“Our focus it to try to get two points every night and climb up in the standings,” Jeff Skinner said. “That takes enough focus in itself.”

“We’ve got an honest, good group of guys. We come to play and compete,” Eric Staal said. “There haven’t been a lot of nights where we can honestly say we were really disappointed with our effort. There have been a few nights, but not a whole lot. Credit to a lot of these guys who compete, battle and show up daily. We’re fighting. We’re still in the mix.”

The Canes are also fighting through a rash of injuries, some perhaps more serious than others. The team was without three key players on Friday in defenseman Justin Faulk and forwards Andrej Nestrasil and Jay McClement. All three, especially Nestrasil who had been cleared Friday to travel back to Raleigh, aren’t likely to play again today. McClement (upper body) and Faulk (lower body) are both considered day-to-day, though Faulk’s injury seems to be a bit more nagging. The extent of Nestrasil’s upper-body injury remains uncertain pending further evaluation by team doctors.

“We’re not here to make excuses. We’ve never done that around here,” Staal said. “When you’re missing some key guys, it’s tough sometimes.”

Today’s opponent, the St. Louis Blues, was pummeled on Saturday afternoon by the Nashville Predators, 5-0. Still, the Blues sit in third place in the Central Division with 79 points and hold a 16-9-5 record on the road.

In the first meeting between these two teams this season on Jan. 14 in St. Louis, the Hurricanes scored three goals in the third period and Eddie Lack made 23 saves en route to a 4-1 win, the team’s season-long fourth in a row at the time.

CANESPR NOTES: Jeff Skinner is expected to skate in his 400th career NHL game today. … The Hurricanes will be outfitted in their alternate uniform set for the 11th of 12 times this season. They are undefeated in regulation in their black threads this season, posting a 7-0-3 record.



Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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