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Gameday: Hurricanes at Senators

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

OTTAWA - Heat up those Thanksgiving leftovers and settle in for some Saturday night hockey!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's tilt featuring 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.

We'll be rinkside at Canadian Tire Centre to bring you the latest in roster updates, quotes from the room and more when the Hurricanes take the ice for their 11:30 a.m. morning skate.

Last updated: 7:00 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

Andrej Nestrasil will draw back into the lineup tonight. Forward Brock McGinn has an upper-body injury. Nestrasil is expected to skate on the third line alongside Derek Ryan and Lee Stempniak.

Puck drop is next!

2:45 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco, who I'll be joining on the Hurricanes Live pregame show at 7:00 p.m., presents tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.

1. Tough in the Paint

Bill Peters said it after Thursday's game in Montreal: get tougher in the blue paint on both ends. That means getting in front of the goalie, taking a hit to to get a rebound to score a goal and delivering a hit to the opponent in front of the Canes netminder so the other team doesn't collect a rebound and score. 

2. Keep Rolling

The Hurricanes want to roll all four lines, and on a trip like this, to be able to give consistent minutes to all 12 forwards makes a big difference, especially in the third period. 

3. Possess with a Purpose

It's good to hold on to the puck, and the Hurricanes are one of the better teams in the league with possession times. The key now is to turn that into grade-A chances, not settling for a shot from the perimeter after a grinding shift. Against a team like Ottawa, the Canes have to get in front of the goaltender, especially after making the Sens chase them around in the zone.

1:05 p.m.

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

On the last meeting between these two teams: "I think both teams are probably improved since that time. It was a game that ended up going into overtime. It should have been a feisty, hard-fought game throughout, and I expect nothing but the same tonight."

On potential lineup changes: "Not looking to [make one], but might consider one."

On the team's recent success: "We're playing quicker, we're playing with more pace, we're better defensively and we're more structured in our own end. Therefore, everything comes together."

On what needs to be improved from Thursday's game in Montreal: "We've got to be at the net. I don't think we were at the net enough in the offensive zone. I think we can be harder at both nets."

On Matt Tennyson and the defense: "He got an opportunity to come up and has done a real good job with us. He's solidified that three pair. We had a lot of different looks there at one time, but now we've solidified that. I think it gives our whole group confidence that our lines aren't being changed as often as they were earlier in the year because we've found something that works."

11:35 a.m.

Here's how the Hurricanes lined up this morning. You'll notice it looks familiar, as not much has changed lineup-wise as of late. Cam Ward is expected to make his ninth consecutive start in net.




6:00 a.m.

A three-game Canadian road trip concludes for the Carolina Hurricanes in Ottawa tonight, and it's a chance for the Canes to get back in the win column after their five-game winning streak was halted in Montreal on Thanksgiving Day.

The Hurricanes suffered their first loss in two weeks on Thursday against the Eastern Conference's top team, a closely contested 2-1 decision. Even with the Canadiens 1-1 through two periods, Max Pacioretty snuck on inside the far post, which proved to be enough. Carey Price, who has lost just one regulation game all season, made 31 saves at the other end of the ice.

"I thought we did a lot of good things and made a lot of great plays but couldn't quite get over that hump of getting it into the net," Jordan Staal said. "If we consistently play that way, we're going to be in a lot of games. We were in this one tonight but came up a little short."

Special teams was a tale of two cities for the Hurricanes in Montreal. Though their league-best penalty kill was again perfect - including the two killed off against the Canadiens, the Canes have dispatched 24 straight penalties - their power play had two opportunities in the final 10 minutes of the game to find the equalizer.

"That's a great opportunity to get it squared up, and we ended up with one shot. Not enough," head coach Bill Peters said. "I think we needed a little more traffic and a few more guys digging in in the blue paint in the offensive zone. That would have been a little bit more appealing to the coach."

But there was still a lot to like about how the Hurricanes matched up with one of the league's top teams in their own building.

"That's how we want to play: be fast, be heavy down low and make plays. When we play like that, it's hard to handle us," said Elias Lindholm, who scored the Canes' lone goal in Montreal. "We're one of the fastest teams in the league when we play like that, so we need to keep building from this and move on."

Tonight, the Canes draw the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre for the second time in just over three weeks. On the first day of the month, Jaccob Slavin got the Hurricanes on the board just 34 seconds into the game, but the Senators would eventually take the extra point in a 2-1 overtime final.

The Sens are winners of two straight, with victories over the Canadiens in Montreal and the Bruins at home on Thanksgiving. Ottawa currently ranks third in the Atlantic Division at 12-7-1 (25 points).

CANESPR NOTES: Lindholm has points in four straight games (2g, 2a), and the Hurricanes are 6-1-0 this season when he registers a point. … Tonight marks the front half of a back-to-back set, as the Canes will host the Florida Panthers at home on Sunday evening. This is the second of 16 back-to-backs the Canes will play this season.




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