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Gameday: Canucks vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Four? Let’s make it five.


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

In a back-to-back situation after a night of travel, the Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate today, but check back here for updates as the day progresses.

Last updated: 6:40 p.m.



CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
6:40 p.m.

Nathan Gerbe appears poised to make his return to the lineup. Meanwhile, Brett Pesce will miss tonight's game with a lower-body injury.

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Rask-Nash
Malone-McClement-Gerbe

Liles-Faulk
Hanifin-Hainsey
Jordan-Slavin

Ward
Lack

Puck drop is coming up!



GERBE, WARD PROBABLE
4:45 p.m.

Nathan Gerbe is expected to return to the lineup and Cam Ward will likely start in net tonight, according to head coach Bill Peters.

"We're all going to warm up and go from there," he said.

Ward is the probable starter but according to Peters is still feeling some ill effects (a sore neck) from taking a shot to the head on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh.

Gerbe has missed the team's last 25 games with an ankle injury.

"He's going to add pace. We lost a little bit of pace when Phil went out. Gerb's game is based on skating," Peters said. "He's going to provide some energy in how hard he plays and how hard he works."

Here are some more quotables from this evening's availability.

On Gerbe working his way back: "When you look at guys who have missed a lot of hockey, when they come back you have to be patient. They're not going to be on top of their game. He has to work his way back in. His game shape and timing isn't going to be there, but it's going to come quick because he's in real good shape. ... He'll have a little catch-up to do, but he'll get caught up. ... He knows how to handle it."

On the team's current streak: "We've played well for quite a while. We're getting contributions from everybody in the lineup, and guys are comfortable. ... I think there's some chemistry there."

On Phil Di Giuseppe's play and reassignment: "I know we missed him when he was gone. We missed the pace he provided on his line. I thought he was a real good player with Rasker and Skinny. ... He was getting more and more comfortable with the puck. Hopefully when he goes down there he can knock the rust off and get back up right away."



BEFORE THE FACEOFF
4:15 p.m.

Michelle McMahon set the table for tonight's cross-conference match-up between the Canucks and Hurricanes.


Stay tuned ... updates from head coach Bill Peters coming within the hour.



GERBE ACTIVATED FROM IR
11:30 a.m.

Nathan GerbeThe Hurricanes activated forward Nathan Gerbe from injured reserve. In corresponding roster moves, forwards Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe, who has missed the last six games with a concussion, have been assigned to Charlotte.

Gerbe suffered an ankle injury on Nov. 22 against Los Angeles and has missed the team’s last 25 games. Now activated, he figures to draw back into the lineup tonight against the Vancouver Canucks.

We'll speak with head coach Bill Peters this afternoon to nail down specifics on his plans for the lineup.



CANES GO FOR FIVE IN A ROW AGAINST CANUCKS
6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes extended their winning streak to a season-long four games with a decisive 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. With the Vancouver Canucks making their first and only trip to Raleigh tonight, the Canes will look to prolong that streak as they continue their surge in the standings.

CANUCKS vs. HURRICANES
Canucks vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
RECAP: CANES GRAB FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN
INFOGRAPHIC: CAR 4, STL 1
LIVE BLOG: DADS TRIP
VIDEOS
PESCE'S GAME-WINNER IN ST. LOUIS
McGINN SNIPES ONE PAST ELLIOTT
GAMEDAY LINKS
BUY TICKETS
TEACHER APPRECIATION NIGHT
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Against the Blues, four different players found the back of the net for the Hurricanes – Jeff Skinner, Brett Pesce, Brock McGinn and Riley Nash – and Eddie Lack made 23 saves on 24 shots in his sixth career win against St. Louis.

“It was a pretty complete effort. It was real good,” head coach Bill Peters said. “The power play came through to get the game-winning goal, and the PK was on top of it, too. I thought there were a lot of good things out of the game tonight.”

The win vaulted the team into fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and puts the Canes on the cusp of a wild card playoff spot. With a 20-18-7 record and 47 points, the team is a point away from hurdling into the postseason picture.

“We’re closing the gap on a playoff spot, and we’re trying not to look too far ahead,” Lack said. “We want to keep battling and keep grinding.”

“It’s been a good feeling in the locker room. Everyone likes to win,” Skinner said. “Guys have come together over the last little while. We’ve been playing some pretty good hockey as of late, and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Tonight’s opponent is the Vancouver Canucks, the lone team that the Canes did not earn a point against in their last eight games. The Canucks edged the Hurricanes 3-2 on a late power-play tally from Bo Horvat, spoiling Lack’s return to Vancouver.

Since then, the team has won once, putting a halt to Florida’s 12-game winning streak, and dropped an overtime decision to Tampa Bay and a 4-1 match to Washington on Thursday.

Forwards Nathan Gerbe (lower body) and Phil Di Giuseppe (concussion) have skated with the team this week and could be nearing return. Defenseman Brett Pesce played and scored a goal in St. Louis, but he still seems to not be 100 percent with a lower-body concern.

CANESPR NOTES: The Canucks have won 12 of the last 14 meetings with the Hurricanes, including both games last season and the two teams’ first meeting this season a week ago. … Ron Hainsey is expected to play in his 800th career NHL game tonight.



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

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