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Gameday: Hurricanes at Oilers

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

EDMONTON - From Rogers Arena to Rogers Place, hello, snowy Edmonton.

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's match-up featuring the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers 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.

The Hurricanes will be on the ice at Rogers Place for an 11:30 a.m. local time morning skate, which will be in the early afternoon for those of you on the East Coast. Check back here then for lineup updates and more.

Last updated: 5:05 p.m.


BCBSNC TOOLS TO VICTORY
5:05 p.m.

Here are tonight's three Tools to Victory presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

1. New Guys

Phil Di Giuseppe, Martin Frk and Jakub Nakladal will make their season debuts for the Hurricanes tonight. Di Giuseppe could bring some extra scoring pop to the Jordan Staal line, Frk will make his NHL debut and Nakladal will play the right side alongside Noah Hanifin. This roster shake-up could prove beneficial.

2. Not a Track Meet

Edmonton is a quick team that has already shown a dangerous offensive potential this season. The Hurricanes can't get caught in a track meet through the neutral zone, as head coach Bill Peters said, or it could be a long night. They need to manage the puck effectively and make Edmonton play in their own end.

3. 60 Minutes

Grab a lead and hold on. Eliminate the unforced mistakes. Play a full 60 minutes, and finish the game properly.


FRK SET FOR NHL DEBUT
4:20 p.m.

Phil Di Giuseppe and Jakub Nakladal are both making their season debuts for the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, and a third player, forward Martin Frk, will be skating in his first game in the National Hockey League.

"I've been waiting for this moment for a long, long time, since I realized what I wanted to do with my life," Frk said after the Hurricanes' morning skate in Edmonton. "I'm excited a lot, but hopefully I'm not too excited because I want to make sure I play good. I want to enjoy every minute on the ice, and hopefully I do good and we win the game."

Frk, 23, was claimed off waivers by the Hurricanes just over a week ago. The Czech forward was a second-round draft choice of the Detroit Red Wings in 2012 and last season scored 27 goals with the Grand Rapid Griffins of the AHL.

Now, he has an opportunity to show that he can translate that scoring touch to the NHL. After watching the Hurricanes' first two games from above, he draws into the Canes' lineup tonight against the Oilers. Frk will skate on the team's fourth line alongside Jay McClement and Bryan Bickell.

"My parents wished me good luck. They told me not to be stressed. Just enjoy it and play like it's any other game," he said. "I just want to play my game, push everyone to do good and help the team be better."


PETERS: PREGAME
2:50 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the gathered media at Rogers Place after his team's half-hour morning skate.

On learning to win with a three-goal lead: "We've just got to keep playing the same way. Hopefully we get another lead like that tonight and handle it better. It's a problem, but it's a good problem to have. We'll see if we can't just play a complete game, 60 minutes."

On what has gone wrong and what's correctable: "I think we've made some mistakes. We haven't taken our foot off the gas at all. We've just made some mistakes."

On offense in the NHL and coaching for more goals: "We try to score. Believe me, we want to score. But what I think the 30 coaches know is that if you can't defend properly, you're in your own zone the whole time. If you're poor defensively, you never get out of your own zone. We know that, and everybody knows that. I don't think there's anyone putting the shackles on people. We want entertainment, we want goals."


CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
1:30 p.m.

THe Hurricanes will make a number of adjustments to their lineup tonight, as Phil Di Giuseppe, Martin Frk and Jakub Nakladal all draw into the lineup for the first time this season. Andrej Nestrasil, Viktor Stalberg and Klas Dahlbeck will come out.

Skinner-Rask-Stempniak
Nordstrom-Staal-Di Giuseppe
Aho-Lindholm-Teravainen
Bickell-McClement-Frk

Hainsey-Faulk
Slavin-Pesce
Hanifin-Nakladal

Ward
Lack

Updates from inside the Hurricanes locker room are forthcoming!


CANES SEEK OUT FIRST WIN IN EDMONTON
6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes will make their first and only visit of the 2016-17 regular season to brand-new Rogers Place when they face off with the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

Game No. 3 on the young season is an opportunity for the Hurricanes to tick the win column for the first time after a pair of disappointing overtime losses, in which the team twice surrendered three-goal leads to the opposition.

"They were very similar situations. We're very happy with some of the stuff we've been able to do here early in the year. We've had leads, not only in the two regular season games but also in the exhibition season," head coach Bill Peters said after a Monday practice in Edmonton. "We've got to be able to manage the situation and clock a little bit better. We don't want to get conservative and play on our heels, but there are certain things you have to do differently with those types of leads."

In Vancouver on Sunday, the Hurricanes overcame a sluggish start to establish a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission, and they led the Canucks 3-0 in the second period. Vancouver trimmed the lead to two before the second period ended and added two in the third to force overtime, where former Hurricane Brandon Sutter sent the fans home happy.

"We got outplayed early and didn't start on time, and that's something that's uncharacteristic of our team. That's got to be something we focus on and make sure we play a full 60 or 65 minutes if necessary," Peters said. "We had a real good stretch there through the middle part of the game. We started skating better late in the first. In the third, the game was there to be had, and we just made too many simple, unforced mistakes."

The good news for the Hurricanes is that only two of 82 games have been played, and they've still come away with two points. Learning how to turn that two points into four is a fixable process.

"This is a very intelligent, competitive group, and they'll get better as we go," Peters said.

After Sunday night's loss, Peters said he would look at adjusting the lineup for Tuesday, and he will do just that. Forwards Phil Di Giuseppe and Martin Frk, who will make his NHL debut, and defenseman Jakub Nakladal, who joined the team in Vancouver, are all expected to play.

One aspect of the Canes' game that likely won't be tinkered with is the power play, which is humming along at a 50 percent clip (3-for-6) in the early going, good for second-best in the NHL.

"We've got more skill than we've had in the past on the power play," Peters said. "They've worked on it hard through training camp, and we've got more focus on a net-front presence."

Tonight the Hurricanes will face a dangerous Oilers squad that scored 12 goals in their first two games, both wins against the Calgary Flames. On Sunday, the Oilers were pounded 6-2 by the Sabres, prompting them to adjust their practice schedule and hold a skate on Monday rather than the planned off day.

"This team is very quick, and you've got to manage the puck properly and make them play in their own zone. If we do that, we have a chance to be successful," Peters said. "If we're going to turn pucks over and make it a track meet through the neutral zone, it's going to be a long day. It will be a real good test for our group." 

CANESPR NOTES: The Canes and Oilers split last year's two-game season series, with the home team winning either match. Carolina has earned at least one point in four of the last six meetings between the two teams. … Justin Faulk and Lee Stempniak are your points leaders through two games, as they each have recorded a goal and two assists.


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