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Gameday: Hurricanes at Canucks

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

VANCOUVER - "Begin the day with a friendly voice, a companion unobtrusive."

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 Vancouver Canucks 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 hold an 11:30 a.m. local time morning skate at Rogers Arena. For our fans back on the East Coast, check back here in the early afternoon for updates then.

Last updated: 5:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

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

1. Return of the Lack

Eddie Lack makes a return to Vancouver, and he gets the start in net. He had a solid preseason, and it would be nice to see him build off that. He's getting a chance early in the season to make a statement in the crease.

2. Get Everyone Involved

Much of the Hurricanes' offense on Thursday night came from the trio of Lee Stempniak, Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner, not that that's a bad thing. If Sebastian Aho, Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen can get going tonight, watch out.

3. Finish Strong

In the last two games of the preseason, the Hurricanes saw two-goal leads disappear in the third period, though they rebounded to win both in shootouts. In their regular-season opener on Thursday, a three-goal third period lead dissipated, and they left Winnipeg with a point. Tonight, should the Hurricanes have a lead in the third period, they need to bear down and find a way to snag two points in regulation.

3:50 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media in Vancouver after his team's morning skate. Here's what was discussed.

On his message to the Hurricanes: "We're just going to go out, try to start on time, get all four lines rolling, make sure we play everybody and put them in good situations to be successful."

On watching the Canucks play last night: "It was a good hockey game. I thought both teams played well, and there was good goaltending at both ends. Vancouver really pressed in the third and were rewarded for that."

On the challenges of starting the season with a long road trip: "You have to make sure your guys can play through match-ups. Right now we've got our lines balanced off ... and we beleive all four lines can play against anybody."

On takeaways from the season opener in Winnipeg: "It was real good through 45 minutes, and then there was a little bit of adversity that we didn't handle as well as we'd like, but that's going to happen. How you respond to that is the important thing."

On wanting to respond: "I think we're hungry to get off to a good start, not just tonight but on this whole road trip. ... It's important that we play well and form a foundation."

6:00 a.m.

Here is the group of 20 you can expect to see dress for the Hurricanes tonight.




Aside from the goaltenders, this is unchanged from Thursday night in Winnipeg.

"Through 45 minutes we liked our team a lot," head coach Bill Peters said after practice on Saturday. "We made a few mistakes coming down the stretch, obviously, but if we can learn from those mistakes we'll be better off for it. Those guys that were in the lineup deserve another chance."

6:00 a.m.

Game one of 82 did not end how the Carolina Hurricanes would have liked.

Up 4-1 in the third period, the Hurricanes surrendered their lead to the Winnipeg Jets, who walked away with two points in a 5-4 overtime victory.

The Hurricanes snagged a point, perhaps in the most unfortunate fashion.

"Through 45 minutes we liked our team a lot," head coach Bill Peters said. "We made a few mistakes coming down the stretch, obviously, but if we can learn from those mistakes we'll be better off for it. Those guys that were in the lineup deserve another chance."

So in game two against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, the Hurricanes lineup - at least the forward lines and defensive pairings - will remain unchanged from Thursday night in Winnipeg.

Perhaps the most intriguing line from Thursday night was the trio of Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak. Each skater had a goal, and Skinner and Stempniak both added assists.

Defenseman Jakub Nakladal joined the Hurricanes in Vancouver and practiced with the team on Saturday, but he'll need a few more skates under his belt before Peters inserts him into the lineup.

"He's going to spend some time with Smitty (Steve Smith) this afternoon, and then he's going to watch a little tape of us," Peters said. "He'll get a skate in tomorrow, and then we'll maybe look at playing him in Alberta."

In goal tonight, Eddie Lack will make his first start of the season in the city where his NHL career began.

"We want to get both of our goalies going," Peters said.

The Hurricanes catch the Canucks on the back-end of a back-to-back set. Vancouver topped Calgary 2-1 in the shootout on Saturday night, with former Hurricane Brandon Sutter scoring the game-deciding goal in the skills competition.

"It's always important to start on time," Peters said. "It's so early in the year that you want to get in the rhythm of playing games. Our rhythm is going to get better. We'll play every other day for the foreseeable future, and that will help us getting everyone back and acclimated to the NHL schedule."

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes have not won in Vancouver since October of 1999. They've posted an 0-6-2 record in eight games since. … Rookie forward Sebastian Aho made his NHL debut on Thursday night in Winnipeg, and he recorded his first-career NHL point - an assist - on Victor Rask's power-play tally in the third period.




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