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Gameday: Hurricanes at Blues

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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ST. LOUIS – Greetings from the Gateway to the West!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s cross-conference match-up between the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues 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.

A projected lineup and preview of tonight’s 8 p.m. EST puck drop can be found below. The Canes will hold a morning skate at Scottrade Center at 11:30 a.m. Central time, which will be 12:30 p.m. on the East coast, so check back here then for more!

Last updated: 1:30 p.m.



BELLEMORE TO DRESS, WARD IN NET
1:30 p.m.

The projected lineup found below is the one you will see on the ice tonight in St. Louis with one exception: Brett Bellemore will draw back in on defense, and John-Michael Liles will sit out.

"When you’ve missed a lot of hockey and you try to catch up, come in and play and you’re not quite ready, it shows," head coach Bill Peters said. "I don’t think John-Michael was quite ready, so it’s a combination of Belly playing lots and playing well and John-Michael playing the other night and not being quite ready to play."

Bellemore will play the right side with Ron Hainsey to his left.

Cam Ward gets the start in net tonight for the Hurricanes. Ward is 5-1-1 with a 1.54 goals-against average and two shutouts in seven career appearances against the Blues.

More from Peters:

On the opposition: "They're a very deep team, and they play very fast. They're quick. ... They're hard to play against. I like their team a lot with the way they're playing."

On Eric Staal playing wing with Jordan Staal centering: "It's freed Eric up to be more of a power forward, and he's responded offensively."

On the next 41 games: "We've got so much work to do and a lot of room for improvement. We know that. It's all about us and how we play. We know what the other team is going to do. We have to get our team game in order and at a high level consistently. We haven't done that as well as we would have liked."

On Liles sitting out: "He missed a lot of time with various ailments, and we want to get him up to speed and give him a fair opportunity. We'll get him some more practice time with the team, and when he gets back into the lineup, I expect him to stay in the lineup."



CANES PROJECTED LINEUP
6:00 a.m.

The Canes’ coaching staff made a minor tweak to the lines in-game on Thursday night against Buffalo, swapping centermen on the second and third line. They practiced with the same lines on Friday.

HURRICANES at BLUES
Hurricanes at Blues
SCOTTRADE CENTER | 8 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
ASSESSING THE FIRST HALF
RECAP: CAR 5, BUF 2
VIDEOS
RINK REPORT: JAN. 9
GAMEDAY LINKS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
E. Staal-J. Staal-Lindholm
Gerbe-Nash-Tlusty
Skinner-Rask-Semin
Malone-McClement-Dwyer

Sekera-Faulk
Hainsey-Liles Bellemore
Gleason-Murphy

A starting goaltender has not been named. Cam Ward made 18 saves on 20 shots in the team’s 5-2 win over Buffalo. Anton Khudobin has won in consecutive starts, both 2-1 shootout victories.

We’ll confirm the lineup above and the starting goaltender shortly following the Canes’ morning skate.



CANES VISIT HIGH-OCTANE BLUES
6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes’ offense came alive in a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, as five different scorers lit the lamp.

The Canes could need similar offensive production when they visit the St. Louis Blues, who have scored 20 goals in their last three games: wins by the score of 7-2, 6-0 and 7-2, respectively.

“They’re scary. I was watching a little bit of video today, and they’re playing well. They’re dialed in,” head coach Bill Peters said after a Friday practice in Raleigh. “We had five goals from five different guys, and they had seven from seven. It’s a very deep and talented team that’s well-coached and organized. It will be a fun game.”

Tonight marks the first of two meetings between the two teams this season and the lone meeting in St. Louis. The Canes have won seven of the last 11 games between the two teams, and they’ve earned at least one point in five of the last seven trips to St. Louis.

Though 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, St. Louis is 14-4-1 at home this season, and they sit in third place in the Central Division with 53 points.

“They’re structured, but they play with pace. They have good tempo throughout the lineup, and they can score,” Peters said. “That’s a legit Stanley Cup contender, and it will be a real good test for our group.”

The Canes bring a group of 22 to St. Louis that most closely resembles the contingent they’d have available on opening night, one that includes a healthy Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin.

“Obviously we’ve gotten better as we’ve gone along. I thought we were good last night, and that’s the most important thing: to live in the present with the lineup we have and the options we have available,” Peters said. “I liked the fact that we got to see Sems and Jordan together for the first time and spread out some of the offensive firepower and go from there.”

NOTES: A trio of two-game point streaks: Eric Staal (2g, 1a), Justin Faulk (1g, 2a) and Victor Rask (1g, 1a). … Elias Lindholm is expected to skate in his 100th career NHL games.



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