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Gameday: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Merry Christmas, everyone!


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s match-up 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.

The Canes will be on the ice at PNC Arena at 10:30 a.m. for their morning skate, and we’ll be there with rinkside updates, as usual. Until then, a preview of tonight’s game can be found below.

Last updated: 2:45 p.m.



BEFORE THE FACEOFF
2:45 p.m.

Setting the table for tonight's Metropolitan Division showdown!




PETERS: PREGAME
11:45 a.m.

Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media after the Canes' morning skate. Here's some of what he had to say.

On tonight's opponent: "12-1-1 in their last 14, and they've scored a lot of goals here recently. They're dialed in and playing really well. ... We're excited about the challenge to play them, I can tell you that."

On containing Washington's dynamic offense: "Puck management, making sure we're working hard away from the puck, making sure we're above people, making sure our shift length is adequate. They're a dangerous team throughout the lineup, and they're playing with a lot of confidence."

On the Canes' strategy tonight: "We're going to try to have the puck and make them defend. We're going to be aggressive. We're not going to sit here and defend, defend, defend or chip it in and let them come at us. We're going to try to make them play in their D-zone and [we want to] possess the puck."

On how specialty teams might impact tonight's game: "Their power play is lethal, absolutely lethal. We've got to be disciplined. Our power play has been very good recently, too. We were 2-for-4 the other night. We don't want to get in a situation where we have to keep up with them. ... We want to play 5-on-5, have the puck, possess the puck and have a lot of poise during our shifts."




CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
10:30 a.m.

It appears the Hurricanes will make just one change to their lineup tonight, inserting Chris Terry on the fourth line in place of Riley Nash.

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Rask-Di Giuseppe
Malone-McClement-Terry

Liles-Faulk
Slavin-Hainsey
Hanifin-Pesce

Michal Jordan, who was recalled from his conditioning stint this morning, will be a healthy extra on defense.

Cam Ward looks to get his third consecutive start in net.




RED-HOT CAPS COME TO TOWN BEFORE BREAK
6:00 a.m.

CAPITALS vs. HURRICANES
Capitals vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
RECAP: WARD, CANES TOP PENGUINS
INFOGRAPHIC: CAR 2, PIT 1
VIDEOS
HIGHLIGHTS: CAR 2, PIT 1
GAMEDAY LINKS
BUY TICKETS
TOY DRIVE BOGO
50/50 RAFFLE
12 DAYS OF HOCKEY
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Just one game remains for the Carolina Hurricanes before their holiday break, and it comes against one of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League.

The Canes will face off with the Washington Capitals for the second time this season, and the Capitals come into tonight’s game tied with the Dallas Stars for the top spot in the league at 50 points (24-6-2). They routed the New York Rangers 7-3 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday for their fifth consecutive victory. The Caps are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and have won 12 of their last 14 matches.

The first meeting between these two teams, which was the Canes’ fifth game of the regular season, was a 1-0 score in favor of the Caps heading into the third period. They would take a 2-0 lead before Jeff Skinner brought his team within a goal, but Washington pulled away to win 4-1.

The Hurricanes have won five of their last eight games and earned points in six. After being shut out by Florida at home on Friday night by a score of 2-0, the Hurricanes responded with a 2-1 defeat of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Jordan Staal and John-Michael Liles found the back of the net on the power play, and Cam Ward stopped 37 of 38 shots in the team’s 13th victory of the season.

"I made a couple good saves early that got me into the game," Ward said after the game. "They've got some high-end skill. You've got to be on your toes. Fortunately tonight I felt really comfortable and ready, and the whole team competed."

"There were definitely a few chances that Wardo had to make some big saves, especially at the end there. They’ve got a lot of talent on that team," Staal said. "You have to do your best to contain them, and we were fortunate enough to keep most of them to the outside, and Wardo stopped the rest."

The Hurricanes’ power play has been a consistent performer as of late; they’ve notched 10 goals on the man advantage in their last eight games.

“At the beginning of the season, special teams wasn’t where we wanted it to be. As of late, you can tell when you start winning that special teams battle, you’re going to find a way to get points," Staal said. "It’s always nice when the PP is clicking. It gives some extra motivation and extra confidence on the offensive side of the puck."

"It's been three or four weeks now that we've had production from both units on the power play, so that's been very positive," head coach Bill Peters said after his team’s win in Pittsburgh. "We won the specialty teams battle by one tonight, and it was a one goal game. That's the importance of specialty teams in the modern era."

The Hurricanes did not skate on Sunday. Riley Nash drew back into the lineup in place of Chris Terry on Saturday. That was Nash’s 200th career NHL game.

CANESPR NOTES: Justin Faulk recorded his 100th career assist on Saturday, notching a helper on Staal’s power-play goal that gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 first-period lead. … The Canes have not gone winless in a season series against the Capitals since the 1997-98 campaign.



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

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