Congrats Wardo on 500 NHL games!
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game between the Washington Capitals 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.
A projected lineup and a preview of tonight’s game can be found below. As per usual, the Hurricanes will be on the ice at PNC Arena at 10:30 a.m. for their morning skate. Check back here then for more!Last updated: 3:50 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. to witness a special pregame ceremony honoring Cam Ward's 500th NHL game played.
Jim Gregory, Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations for the NHL, will be on hand to present the league's milestone award to Ward, and General Manager Ron Francis and Ward's teammates will also recognize his achievement during the ceremony.
Also, be sure to grab a commemorative #Ward500 poster
at the door, available to the first 10,000 fans in attendance.
LINEUP NOTES AND PETERS QUOTES12:45 p.m.
Eric Staal and Brett Bellemore did not participate in the Canes morning skate due to illness, but both players are expected to be in the lineup tonight according to head coach Bill Peters.
Here is more of what Peters had to say after the morning skate.On the opposition:
"They’re playing real well. They’re a deep team and a big, heavy team. They shored up their back-end, and Holtby has had a good year. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we’re going to have to a good job on specialty teams. We did that against Philadelphia. We’ll play a disciplined game with lots of energy."On the trades made this week:
"We don’t need to address it. They’re professionals, and they’ve been through it. ... Business as usual."On how the lineup might look different:
"Everyone has an opportunity. Collectively on the back-end we have to replace Reggie’s minutes, and the fact that he played power play and penalty kill, so that’s going to take all guys that are here. ... It’s a great opportunity for all guys that are going to dress. Up front, I can’t wait to get Chris Terry going again. He deserves to be in the lineup, but he isn’t right now while we’re healthy up front. He’s a guy that’s going to be able to do some good things for us. Guys like Nesty and Lindy, those young guys, will have more opportunity."
CANES PROJECTED LINEUP6:00 a.m.
With Andrej Sekera and Jiri Tlusty no longer with the Hurricanes, the team will look a bit different tonight against the Capitals. Here’s how the team lined up on Thursday in practice.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Semin
Anton Khudobin gets the nod in net, as Cam Ward will be honored prior to the game for playing in his 500th NHL contest on Tuesday night.
“He can just enjoy the ceremony and really soak it all in,” Peters said. “It’s a great accomplishment, and he deserves [it].”
NEW-LOOK CANES HOST CAPITALS6:00 a.m.
When the Washington Capitals visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night for the third of four meetings between the two Metropolitan Division opponents this season, the home team will have a bit of a different look.
On Wednesday, the Canes traded Jiri Tlusty and Andrej Sekera, acquiring three draft picks and a defensive prospect in the process.
“It won’t change our approach, but it changes the team for sure,” head coach Bill Peters said after a Thursday afternoon practice. “You’re taking a guy out of your one pair, and you’re taking out a real versatile forward. But what it does is give other people opportunities, so I’m excited about watching what people do with their improved opportunity.”
Andrej Nestrasil will draw back into the lineup in Tlusty’s stead for tonight’s tilt against the Capitals.
“Now Nesty and Chris Terry, eventually, will get the opportunity to get in the lineup more consistently, and we’ll see what they can do with it,” Peters said.
Ron Hainsey will pair with Justin Faulk on defense, though Sekera’s 22-plus minutes of average time on ice will be filled by committee.
“Ron has been around the league. Big guy with a big stick, and he’s good defensively. You’ve got a puck-mover on the other side. That has a real good chance to be a good pair,” Peters said. “But we’re going to have to do it by committee. I don’t think we have a guy that you can just sit there and say, hey, this guy is going to replace him and do that job.”
Alexander Semin is coming off his best game of the season on Tuesday, in which he recorded two primary assists and posted a team-best seven shots on goal. He will skate alongside the Staal brothers on the team’s first line.
“It’s a great opportunity for Sems. He was real good against Philly the other night. He skated well, and he shot the puck,” Peters said. “He was real strong on the puck, shot the puck and worked real hard to into a position to shoot it. That’s what we’re hoping he continues to do.”
Tonight’s game marks the final home game in February for the Canes, who are 5-4-1 in the month and 12-7-3 since the start of 2015.
The Capitals have dropped two games in row, but they were winners of four straight and five of six just prior. At 33-19-10 with 76 points, they currently occupy the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hurricanes will honor goaltender Cam Ward’s 500th NHL game with a pregame ceremony. Anton Khudobin, who is 3-2-1 with a 2.81 goals-against average in six career appearances against Washington, will start in net.
NOTES: Semin has points in two straight games (3a), and he has recorded five points, all assists, in his last six games. … The Canes are 0-1-1 against the Caps this season, losing 4-3 in overtime in Washington on Nov. 8 and falling 2-1 in Carolina on Dec. 4.