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Gameday: Hurricanes at Rangers

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

NEW YORK - Another road trip!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's Metropolitan Division showdown between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers 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 Madison Square Garden at 11:30 a.m. for their morning skate, and, as always, we'll be rinkside to bring you the latest.

Last updated: 3:15 p.m.


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
3:15 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco brings us tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.

1. Grab the Lead

It's not about taking the crowd out of the game, but rather it's about not having to think about scoring two goals on Henrik Lundqvist. Not that it is impossible to score two on him, but make the Rangers think about how hard it has been to score on Canes goalies first.

2. Be Quick, Don't Hurry

They Hurricanes are a tough team to contain when they set the pace, but there is a difference between playing fast and just going fast. If the Canes play fast and put the puck where it needs to go behind the Rangers defense, they will have a big advantage.

3. Jeff Skinner

It's easy to say that your best offensive player is a tool to victory. Skinner has had success versus the Rangers with his near hat trick in the home opener this year, and he has to be the catalyst on Broadway.


PREGAME: PETERS AND TERAVAINEN
1:35 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters met with the media in New York after the Hurricanes' morning skate. Here are some highlights from the six-minute-plus discussion.

On the team's play: "We played well early in the year but had big breakdowns. Therefore, we didn't hold some leads. Now we've tightened up a little bit defensively, and our goaltenders have a better chance and are playing better. Our specialty teams have been good too. We've got a lot of things going good. We have different guys finding a way to contribute each and every night, and that's what you need in this league."

On moving Teuvo Teravainen to the middle: "He'll be fine, and I know he'll be excited about being back at a position he's comfortable in. … I think for us he's going to be a center at some point. He's going to be a center long-term. I really believe that."

On Teravainen's skill set: "He's a real smart player, a very creative player. He's got another gear. You don't always see it, but he's got high-end speed. He's evasive. He's very good defensively, and that's what allows him to play center and have the coach's trust, so I can play him against anybody. … He's a playmaking center. We're excited about seeing him there for the foreseeable future."

On perhaps playing Elias Lindholm at center again: "We could but then we get spread out a little bit too thin. We've got to be able to, especially on the road, come up with some lines that we think are going to be dangerous on a consistent basis, and the Skinner-Rask-Lindholm line is going to be leaned upon."

On Phil Di Giuseppe's return to the lineup from Charlotte: "We wanted to freshen him up and get him some ice time down there. … He's going to be on the penalty kill. Hopefully we don't have to kill a bunch of penalties here."

I also caught up with Teravainen, who will slide into the middle in Jordan Staal's absence.

Teravainen on playing center: "I just feel like I need to be good in faceoffs and in my own zone, and otherwise just go play hockey. You have to win some faceoffs. In your own zone, you're playing more defense in the middle of the ice. I like it."

Teravainen on Rod Brind'Amour's influence as a coach: "He's been good with everything, the power play and all the little things. If I'm playing center more, you have to dig in on faceoffs, and he can help me with that."


CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
11:30 a.m.

The Hurricanes' forward lines will look a bit different today with the team's top center, Jordan Staal, on IR.

Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
Aho-Teravainen-Stempniak
Di Giuseppe-Ryan-Nestrasil
Nordstrom-McClement-Stalberg

Hainsey-Faulk
Slavin-Pesce
Hanifin-Tennyson

Ward
Leighton


CANES HIT THE ROAD AGAIN
6:00 a.m.

In the midst of a stretch that has the Carolina Hurricanes playing 9 of 11 games away from home, the team is back on the road for three straight, a trip that begins and ends in New York with a stop in Boston in between.

Tonight marks the first of two stops in a span of five days that the Canes will make at Madison Square Garden. The Hurricanes and Rangers last squared off in Carolina's home opener a month ago, a 3-2 win for the Canes in which Jeff Skinner scored two goals and assisted on Bryan Bickell's game-winning tally.

Following a three-game trek through Canada, the Hurricanes are coming off a 3-2 come-from-behind victory at home over the Florida Panthers on Sunday. The Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes against a languid Canes club. The home team then came out in the second period looking like a completely different group and scored three unanswered goals in the span of 3:28 to take a lead they would never surrender.

"We just came out flat, right?" said Derek Ryan, who scored the game-winning goal on the power play. "We weren't prepared for the game. We didn't come into the rink and get ourselves ready to play. In between periods, obviously we hold ourselves to a high standard. Everyone in here knows that. Some players stepped up and said a few things. Everyone, I think, knew that we had to contribute a little bit more and get better. I think everyone did that."

"I think everyone knew. You come in, and there's not many ways to put it. We just weren't good enough," said Jeff Skinner, whose breakaway goal tied the game. "In all areas of the game, we wanted to get better, we wanted to get more compete. I think we did a good job coming out in the second and responding, playing together more and ultimately getting a win."

Michael Leighton, who was making his first start in the NHL since Jan. 27, 2013, made 31 saves, earning first-star honors and the win, his first NHL victory since Dec. 30, 2010.

"I'm happy to be back and happy to get the win," the 35-year-old goaltender said. "It's been a long road. It's good to be in the NHL, it's good to be in Carolina and it's good to get a win."

Though the Canes clawed their way back to earn two points, they didn't come away unscathed.

Center Jordan Staal left Sunday's game in the first period with what was initially worded as an upper-body injury, and he did not return. On Monday, it was announced that Staal has a concussion and has been placed on injured reserve. In a corresponding roster move, forward Phil Di Giuseppe has been recalled from Charlotte.

Though the Rangers have dropped two of their last three games, losing 6-1 to Pittsburgh and getting shutout 2-0 by Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators, they still sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 31 points (15-7-1).

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes rank first in the league in road penalty kill at 94.3 percent. They've allowed just two goals in 35 shorthanded situation. … The Hurricanes last won a game at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 29, 2010. Since then, the team has posted a 0-7-3 record in 10 games.


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