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Gameday: Hurricanes at Blackhawks

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
CHICAGO – Back at it in the Windy City!


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s match-up between the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks 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.

With a slightly earlier 6 p.m. local time puck drop on a back-to-back with travel, the Hurricanes will not skate this morning, but check back here for updates from Chicago. Until then, you can find a preview of tonight’s game below.

Last updated: 6:30 p.m.



CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
6:30 p.m.

No lineup changes, but there are a few slight adjustments on defense, as the Canes shuffle their group of six.

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Rask-Di Giuseppe
Terry-McClement-Nash

Liles-Faulk
Slavin-Hainsey
Hanifin-Pesce

Lack
Ward

Puck drop is coming up!




LINEUP NOTES AND PETERS QUOTES
12:00 p.m.

In lieu of a morning skate, the Hurricanes met briefly at the hotel. I caught up with head coach Bill Peters afterward to get his take on last night's game, how to carry that into tonight, what he expects to see from Chicago and more.

Eddie Lack will get the start in net for the Hurricanes, his fourth career appearance against the Blackhawks. In front of him, Peters will ice the same group of 18 skaters that played last night against New Jersey, meaning Brad Malone and Michal Jordan will be the healthy extras.

Here's more from Peters.

On the challenges of a back-to-back with travel coming off extended rest: "It's mental toughness, right? It's no different from last night. ... It was a short flight last night, good rest today and now we play a very formidable opponent. You've got to wrap your head around how you're going to play on the road to be successful."

On tonight's opponent and containing Patrick Kane: "I don't know if you contain him as much as you just try to limit the damage they do. That line has been outstanding. ... It's all about us attacking the blue line with speed and making sure that, when we have the puck, we're making good plays with it and holding onto it."

On last night's win vs. New Jersey: "We had a good effort. We were a physical team. We were involved offensively in the O-zone on the forecheck. I thought we got some skin, and I thought we took the body a little bit. That was good. I thought defensively we did a good job of limiting their grade-A chances. They had a few off the rush where they were able to penetrate inside the dots. We'll try to clean that up moving forward and continue to grow our team game."

On the importance playing with a lead: "I don't know what their numbers are when they score first, but they're very good, and they're very good at home. They don't give up much at home, so getting on the board first would be nice. We never trailed last night, so that makes it a little easier. I thought we were dangerous and could have had more than the one-goal lead in the second. I thought we had a very good second period. They were able to tie it up early, but we had a good response to their goal."



CANES GO FOR BACK-TO-BACK WINS
6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes came off four days of rest and earned a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at home on Saturday night. Now, they’ll attempt to replicate that effort on the latter half of a back-to-back against a rested and ever-dangerous Chicago Blackhawks squad.

HURRICANES at BLACKHAWKS
Hurricanes at Blackhawks
UNITED CENTER | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
RECAP: CANES DOWN DEVILS, 3-1
INFOGRAPHIC: CAR 3, NJ 1
VIDEOS
POSTGAME QUOTES: DEC. 26 vs. NJ
FAULK'S GAME-WINNING GOAL vs. NJ
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: DEC. 26
GAMEDAY LINKS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk and Joakim Nordstrom netted goals for the Hurricanes and Cam Ward stopped 19 of the 20 shots he saw in the team’s win over New Jersey.

“I thought they had some chances, and we had some chances. Both goaltenders were good,” head coach Bill Peters offered in his assessment of the game. “It was a little bit of a battle coming off of the break. I thought, for the most part, our guys hung in there and did good things.”

“Coming off of a four-day break, it was good to know that everyone was dialed in and we got the win,” said Pesce, whose third goal of the season broke a scoreless tie in the second period.

Before Saturday’s morning skate, the Canes had last been on the ice Monday night against the Washington Capitals. The holiday break allowed for some extended time away from the rink, and if there were any cobwebs on the Canes’ legs getting back into the swing of the season, it didn’t show for long.

“Plenty of jump. My legs definitely felt real good today,” Pesce said. “You need the rest, and it paid off today.”

“Everyone played really well. It’s tough coming back to a game like this when you’ve had four days off, and most of the guys traveled a bit too. Everyone was hungry to come back and play well right away,” said Nordstrom, who tallied a two-point night (1g, 1a) against the Devils. “It was nice to have a couple days off. I know everyone was ready for it, but it’s nice to be back playing hockey again.”

The challenge now will be to do it all over again on a back-to-back turnaround with travel, as the Canes match up with the Blackhawks for the first time this season.

At 20-12-4 with 44 points, Chicago ranks third in the Central Division. The Blackhawks are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games having won three straight before being blanked 4-0 by Dallas before Christmas. Bolstered by a 26-game point streak, Patrick Kane leads the league in points (50) and assists (29).

The Canes starting goaltender has yet to be announced, and both Cam Ward and Eddie Lack have seen career success against Chicago. Ward is 3-1-2 with a 1.72 goals-against average and two shutouts in six career appearances, and Lack has a 2-1-0 record with a 2.93 goals-against average in three career games.

“[Ward] was real good, and he’s been good here for a while,” Peters said after Saturday night’s game. “He was excellent. He held the puck well and did a lot of good things. It’s an encouraging sign. Now we’ll have a tough decision to make on a back-to-back after four days off.”

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 16 games against the Blackhawks, going 9-2-3 a stretch from March 2000 through March 2014. Chicago swept last year’s season series. … Chris Terry skated in his 100th career game on Saturday. ... Eric Staal has 11 points (2g, 9a) in 11 career games versus Chicago.



Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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