– The end of a five-game road trip is nigh, and along with it, the end of the first month of the 2014-15 regular season.
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with line combinations, roster notes, photos and more as the day rolls on.
The Canes will hold their morning skate at Rogers Arena at 11:30 a.m. local time, which will be 2:30 p.m. in Raleigh. We’ll have updates throughout the day leading up the 10:00 p.m. EST puck drop, so check back here for more – and get the caffeine ready to stay up with us tonight!
Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media following this morning's skate. Here's some of what he had to say.On staying positive in a winless stretch:
"It gets challenging, no question. Frustration creeps into your game a little bit, but the guys and coaches have done a good job of staying positive. We're ready to break out of this, for sure."On how the team is playing:
"We’re not happy where we’re at, honestly. We’re disappointed. There are games there we should have won. ... But we have to play better on a consistent basis. We want to be better in all areas. ... We need to be better, and we need to hold each other accountable to be better”Like goal scoring, if one win could lead to a quick succession of others:
"You need a starting point, and we're looking for that ourselves right now."
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
The forward lines were slightly tweaked in the morning skate, as Patrick Brown was not present.
Eric Staal will have to be activated off injured reserve in order to play tonight, so Brown might be on his way back to Charlotte. We should have official word soon. UPDATE: Here is the official word
, with Brown being reassigned as Staal is activated.
On defense, things looked the same. Jay Harrison and Brett Bellemore are the confirmed extras on defense.
CANES PROJECTED LINEUPUPDATE:
See above for the lines from the morning skate.
For the first time in a couple of weeks, the Hurricanes are going to look different down the middle thanks to the addition of Eric Staal. Here’s what the forward groupings looked like in practice on Monday.
On defense, Andrej Sekera was back with Justin Faulk in Monday’s practice after the two were split up in Edmonton. There was no word given on who would be the extra pair on defense; we’ll have that information following the morning skate.
Cam Ward will get the start in net, his fourth of the season.
STAAL RETURNS AS CANES EYE WIN COLUMN
October has largely been a month to forget for the Carolina Hurricanes, but they have an opportunity to head into November on a positive note when they face the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
Eric Staal, the team’s leading scorer from a year ago, will return to the lineup after missing the team’s last five games with an upper-body injury.
“I’m excited to get back in there,” Staal said after practice on Monday. “It’s never fun watching, especially when you’re not in the win column.”
“He’s felt pretty good,” head coach Bill Peters said. “When you’re struggling, to get your leader back and a very good player, it helps.”
Peters noted that the coaching staff would monitor Staal’s minutes, but the soon-to-be-30-year-old center looks to slot into his usual position on the first line, sandwiched by Jiri Tlusty and Alexander Semin. Staal, who has one of the team’s five power-play goals this season, will also see time on the man advantage.
“He’s a big, strong guy,” Peters said. “Now you’re able to bump guys down in the lineup to where they should be as young guys, and it just gives you a little more depth at that position.”
Cam Ward will get the start in net, his fourth of the season. In six career appearances versus Vancouver, Ward is 2-3-1 with a 3.32 goals-against average. Ward’s last start came in Calgary on Oct. 23, a 5-0 loss in what was probably the team’s worst all-around effort of this young season.
Having pre-scouted the Canucks live on Saturday night when they played host to the Washington Capitals, Peters knows what to expect out of their squad, which is 5-3-0 on the season.
“They’re a good team. They have a lot of pace to their game. The Sedin line was dangerous off the rush,” he said. “Their D is playing fast and up-tempo. They’re a good team, and we’ll have our hands full.”
At 0-5-2, the Canes have gone winless in seven games to open the 2014-15 regular season, the longest such stretch in franchise history. But that trend can just as easily be reversed, and it starts on Tuesday night in Vancouver.
“There have been some unique situations and circumstances,” Peters said of the team’s start. “But we have to do a good job controlling what we can control, and that’s our work ethic, preparation and execution.”
“If you create too big of a hole, it’s a tough league to come back from it,” Staal said. “It’s still early, so we’ll focus on tomorrow night to try to get two big points in Vancouver.”