– I get the feeling we might have just
missed a major sporting event here …
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes 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 a preview of tonight’s game, a 9:00 EST face off, can be found below. The Canes will be on the ice at Gila River Arena for an 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time morning skate, which will be just after lunch on the East Coast, so check back here then for more!Last updated: 2:30 p.m.
THREE QUESTIONS WITH BILL PETERS2:30 p.m.
After the skate, we spoke briefly to head coach Bill Peters.
Q: Cam Ward in net?
A: He's good to go, so he's going to get the start.
Q: When you put Semin and Skinner together earlier in the season, it was to provide an offensive spark. Same idea now?
A: No question. Victor Rask in the middle and two skilled guys on the wall. They generated quite a bit in the short time they were together, and they’re skilled guys. We anticipate them continuing to play well and score.
Q: What do you expect from tonight's game against an Arizona team that's played well since the All-Star break?
A: They’re playing real well, and they’re a better team than when we played them earlier in the year, and so are we. It will be a real good test, and we need to get this road trip going in the right direction. Tonight is the best opportunity we have to do that.
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE1:45 p.m.
In a bit of a change from yesterday's practice, here's what the Canes will look like tonight.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Lindholm
Both Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin skated this morning, which is a good sign in regards to Ward's health. We'll pass along word on the starting goaltender in just a bit.
CANES PROJECTED LINEUP6:00 a.m.
If the Canes utilize the same lines as in practice on Wednesday, here’s what you will see tonight.
“Could be [some changes]. We’ll wait and see,” Peters said after practice. “We’ll see what we do with our pregame skate lineup and go from there.”
If that’s the group of 18 skaters that dresses, Jeff Skinner, Riley Nash and John-Michael Liles will be the healthy extras. We had more on that here yesterday (http://hurricanes.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=751822).
A starting goaltender is still to be named. Peters said the team would like to turn to Cam Ward in net, but he didn’t skate for the second straight day as he nurses a “little tweak in the lower-body.”
ROAD TRIP CONTINUES IN ARIZONA6:00 a.m.
Game No. 3 of a four-game road trip brings the Carolina Hurricanes to Arizona, where they will face off with the Coyotes at Gila River Arena, the second and final meeting between the two teams this season.
In the first meeting on Nov. 1 at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes posted their first victory of the 2014-15 season with a 3-0 shutout win. Cam Ward made 25 saves, and Elias Lindholm scored two goals.
Nearly three months later, the two teams find themselves in similar scenarios. The Hurricanes rank last in the Metropolitan Division with 41 points (17-26-7), and the Coyotes are sixth in the Pacific Division with 44 points (19-26-6).
Coming into the season series finale, the Hurricanes have earned points in five of their last six games (3-1-2). Arizona, who hasn’t played a home game since Jan. 15 due to eight straight games on the road, has earned points in four of their last five games (3-1-1) since the All-Star break.
“They’re playing real well right now. They went on a long trip and did a real good job at the finish of it. They played real well in Columbus and got a big win in Montreal,” head coach Bill Peters said. “They move the puck, their D is very mobile and they’ve got a wonderful power play. We’ll have our hands full.”
The Hurricanes earned a point against the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday in a 5-4 overtime loss, but the circumstance of the defeat was what was most disappointing: the team had a 4-2 lead in the third period and power plays to help salt the game away, but Anaheim clawed their way back into the contest before scoring early in the extra period.
“We've got to learn how to put games away. This isn't the first time this year that we've done that,” Peters said after the game. “We've got to have more guys all-hands-on-deck finding a way to get pucks out, get pucks deep and finding a way to block shots. I think we could have done a better job playing with the lead.”
So, in practice on Wednesday, the Canes worked on efficiently moving pucks out of the zone.
“We definitely had to cover what failed us yesterday,” Peters said. “We want to continue to build our foundation, which we did here today.”
The Canes may sport a bit of a different look tonight, as forwards Jeff Skinner and Riley Nash could be healthy scratches.
“[Skinner] is an offensive player who needs to provide offense. You’ve got to provide that primary dimension as an athlete, doing what you’re paid to do. And if you’re not doing that, you’ve got to have a B-game,” Peters said. “Right now his B-game is not good enough to make up for the lack of offense.”
NOTES: Brad Malone, who had scored just five goals in his previous 87 career NHL games, now has a goal in four of his last six games. He’s also riding a three-game point streak (2g, 1a). … The Canes have scored four or more goals in six of the last nine games in Arizona.