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Gameday: Hurricanes at Senators

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

OTTAWA - November is here, which means the muzzy is, too.

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's tilt between the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators 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 Canadian Tire Centre at 11:30 a.m. for their morning skate, and we'll be rinkside to bring you updates.

Last updated: 3:10 p.m.


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
3:10 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco, who you will see on Hurricanes Live! on FOX Sports Carolinas tonight at 7:00 p.m., presents tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.

1. Quick Start

Get the first goal, and do not give what will be an emotional Ottawa crowd a chance to be even louder.

2. Make Special Teams Special

Win the special teams battles. The Canes are statistically better than the Sens on both the power play and penalty kill and will need to continue to be better tonight.

3. Strong in the Dot

Win faceoffs in the attacking zone. Bill Peters has wanted his team to have more attack zone time, and winning draws in the offensive zone is key to doing that.


MURPHY READY TO JUMP BACK IN
2:40 p.m.

The first month of Ryan Murphy's 2016-17 season hasn't quite exactly gone to plan. First, he got sick during training camp. Then, he suffered a lower-body injury in his second exhibition game.

Now at the outset of November, he's healthy and ready to get back into the Hurricanes' lineup.

"It's been awhile," he told Mike Maniscalco after the Canes' morning skate in Ottawa. "It's been a long time waiting. I'm excited. We're in Ottawa, so I've got some family coming in. It's going to be fun."

After practicing with the Canes for the last week or so, Murphy will jump right back into game action. He'll be restricted to five-on-five play, but head coach Bill Peters doesn't plan to hold him back otherwise.

"For the most part it's the timing because any time you step into an NHL lineup, it takes a little bit of adjusting. The league is so fast and so strong," Murphy said. "I think the first couple of shifts will be huge for me. I'll have some nerves, but after the first couple, I'm going to ease into it and get back to my game."

The Hurricanes have spent the first three weeks of the season searching for a defensive partner for Noah Hanifin. Both Jakub Nakladal, signed as a free agent, and Klas Dahlbeck, claimed off waivers from Arizona, have skated on the right side with Hanifin, but Murphy brings a different element to that twosome.

"He's a valuable guy," Peters said. "He's a puck-mover, and we've had a hard time moving the puck out of our zone in transition."

"I played with Noah a bunch last year, so I'm familiar with him and I know his tendencies," Murphy said. "I think the main thing for us is to make sure we're not both in the rush and have one man back at all times."


PREGAME: PETERS
2:15 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media in Ottawa after his team's morning skate on Tuesday.

On Ryan Murphy returning to the lineup: "He's a valuable guy. He's a puck-mover, and we've had a hard time moving the puck out of our zone in transition."

On reuniting Andrej Nestrasil with Jordan Staal and Joakim Nordstrom: "Last year that was a real good line for us. We obviously like the Rask line. If we can get the Staal line going on a consistent basis, we'll work for there."

On the emotions surrounding Craig Anderson and his team rallying behind him: "We respect that process. They're dealing with that themselves. Our thoughts and prayers go to their family, to Craig and his wife. We've got to worry about ourselves, and postgame, the people that know him will spend some time with him."

On recent success against the Senators: "We've skated when we've played Ottawa. It's been a skating game during my two years here against them. I don't expect anything different here tonight. Both teams get up and down fairly well."


CANES ACTIVATE MURPHY, FRK CLAIMED ON WAIVERS
12:35 p.m.

Defenseman Ryan Murphy has been activated from injured reserve in advance of his expected return to the lineup tonight in Ottawa. Room to make that roster move was created when forward Martin Frk was re-claimed on waivers by Detroit.

All the newsy details from these roster moves can be found here.


CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
11:35 a.m.

The Hurricanes took the ice at Canadian Tire Centre just before 11:30 this morning for their gameday skate. Here's how they lined up.

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

Hainsey-Faulk
Slavin-Pesce
Hanifin-Murphy

Ward
Lack

Some changes will be made across the board, as Andrej Nestrasil draws back in and reuintes with Jordan Staal and Joakim Nordstrom. Phil Di Giuseppe will skate alongside Jay McClement and Viktor Stalberg, while Bryan Bickell sits out. There's a new face on defense in Ryan Murphy, who looks to return tonight from a lower-body injury.

We'll go inside the Hurricanes' room soon for more.


CANES BEGIN NOVEMBER IN OTTAWA
6:00 a.m.

A month begins anew for the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night in Ottawa, as the team looks to put a disappointing and inconsistent October behind them.

The Canes posted a 2-4-2 record (6 points) in eight October games. That script could have easily been flipped to a winning record, but mistakes proved fatal. Twice the team surrendered three-goal leads in regulation, and on Sunday evening, the Canes yielded the game-winning goal to Philadelphia while on the power play in the third period.

"That hurts, giving it up shorthanded," Jeff Skinner said after Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Flyers. "You're tied heading into the third at home, you want to find a way to execute better than that."

"The shorthanded goal against, that's on us," head coach Bill Peters said on Sunday. "3-3 at home - it doesn't matter whether you're at home or on the road, it's 3-3 in the third period and you're on the power play. That's a pretty good scenario for a power play that's been good."

The good news? The offense is not faltering in the least bit, and the defensive breakdowns are correctable.

"Our details aren't very good. It compounds itself," Peters said. "Puck management is the biggest thing we have to address."

"It's a five-man defensive unit," Jordan Staal said on Sunday. "It takes one little bump, one little mistake from a guy in the wrong spot, and the whole thing breaks down. You have to have everyone on the same page."

Jeff Skinner is the Hurricanes' hottest player, and he's one of the hottest players in the league. Skinner leads the Hurricanes in goals (5) and points (11), and he ranks tied for second in the league in points with just seven games played, at least two games less than those with comparable or better point totals. Just once this season (Oct. 16 in Vancouver) has Skinner been held without a point and four times has he recorded multi-point games.

Elsewhere on the offensive side of things, Victor Rask carries into tonight's game an eight game point streak, which ranks second among longest point streaks to begin a season in franchise history. Rask is only bettered by Ron Francis, who assembled an 11-game point streak at the outset of the 1984-85 campaign.

As the Hurricanes look for consistent success in the win column, look for the team to continue to make lineup tweaks. On Monday, the team placed forward Martin Frk on waivers with the intent of assigning him to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. Defenseman Ryan Murphy is nearing a return from a lower-body injury he suffered on Oct. 4. He is with the Canes in Ottawa and has practiced with the team for the last week.

"We need 18 guys going. We don't have 18 guys going right now," Peters said. "We need 18 guys to find a way to make a positive contribution in the game. It's as simple as that."

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes have won six of the last seven regular-season series against Ottawa. Additionally, the Canes have earned at least one point in 20 of the last 25 games against the Senators, posting a 16-5-4 record in that span dating back to March of 2009. … The Hurricanes rank second in the league in faceoff win percentage at 56.6 percent.


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