– 70 degrees and sunny in February? Yes, I’ll take that.
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 Anaheim Ducks 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 10:00 EST face off, can be found below. The Canes will be on the ice at Honda Center for an 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time morning skate, which will be in the early afternoon on the East Coast, so check back here then for more!Last updated: 4:00 p.m.
KHUDOBIN TO START, LINDHOLM BACK IN WITH STAALS4:00 p.m.
Though Cam Ward did not participate in the morning skate in Anaheim, he will be available to back up tonight, according to Canes head coach Bill Peters.
"Maintenance this morning for Wardo, and he'll be good to go," he said.
Anton Khudobin will get the start in net, his first career appearance against Anaheim.
"The same thing happened in MSG (Madison Square Garden) earlier. He had never played in MSG and had a great game," Peters said, referencing the Oct. 16 game in New York in which Khudobin made 33 saves on 34 shots. "We know all that stuff with the advanced stats and analytics, and everyone has access to that. He's been playing very well here lately, and he needs an opportunity to continue to play well."
I asked Khudobin this morning if facing a team for the first time presented any unique challenges. He said that while you might not know exactly what sort of shots to expect from certain shooters, it's ultimately still just the game of hockey.
After sitting out as a healthy scratch in New York over the weekend, Elias Lindholm will draw back into the lineup tonight, slotting in on the right wing alongside the brothers Staal.
"I'm just going to try to play my game and get back to where I know I can play. I know what sort of level I can play at, and I need to come back to that level," he said. "I know I've been playing not as good as I can lately, so I'm just going to try to work hard and get back to my game."
Peters said that after watching Saturday night's game in New York, Lindholm met with Brind'Amour and the head coach to discuss his game. Tonight, Peters wants to see the 20-year-old forward to "make plays and get back to work."
"When you watch it up there, it's a lot of space and a lot of room," Lindholm said. "It looks kind of like another sport when you're down on the ice."
The Hurricanes will roll out the same defensive pairs tonight as they did on Saturday. Brett Bellemore will be the healthy extra on the back-end, while Andrej Nestrasil and Chris Terry will sit up front.
"We need to be able to move the puck," Peters said of his defense. "This team is heavy and can forecheck and wear you out if you don't go back, get it and move it efficiently."
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE2:30 p.m.
The Canes took to the ice at Honda Center at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time today, and here's what you'll see tonight:
E. Staal-J. Staal-Lindholm
From these lines, it appears Andrej Nestrasil, Chris Terry and Brett Bellemore are the healthy extras.
An interesting note: Cam Ward did not skate this morning. Anton Khudobin, who will likely start, and Jorge Alves were the two goaltenders. We'll seek out more information following the skate.
CANES PROJECTED LINEUP6:00 a.m.
Here’s how the Canes lined up in practice on Monday in Anaheim.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Lindholm
A starting goaltender has yet to be named. Cam Ward started in New York, stopping 33 of 37 shots in a 4-1 loss. He also came in to relieve Anton Khudobin, pitching 61:35 of shutout hockey in a 3-2 shootout loss to St. Louis.
“Dave (Marcoux) is meeting with them and talking to them,” Peters said of the goaltending decision. “We talked about it briefly but haven’t made a decision. We’ve got some time on that.”
CANES LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST DUCKS6:00 a.m.
The Carolina Hurricanes were within a goal of tying the game against the New York Rangers on Saturday night in the Big Apple, and then it came unraveled.
The Rangers scored twice within 21 seconds to bury the Canes, 4-1.
“I liked our start, but it just seemed like we ran out of gas towards the end,” head coach Bill Peters said after practice on Monday in Anaheim.
Now, with two days separating that game and tonight’s game against the Pacific Division-leading Ducks, Peters hopes his team can keep it together for a full 60 minutes. Sunday was a full day of travel before the team got back on the ice Monday afternoon for a practice.
“Having the day yesterday to recover was good. It was a long day, as we all know. Changing time zones can affect you a little bit, but having a day before we play Anaheim is very beneficial,” he said. “I think we should be fine, and our guys, if we have to play them more, should be ready to do that.”
Tonight’s game, the second game in a four-game road swing for the Hurricanes, is the first of two times Carolina will face Anaheim this season. The second meeting? Next Thursday in Raleigh.
The Ducks sit atop the Pacific Division at 32-12-6 (70 points), and they boast an 18-6-3 record at home this season. Though 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, they’ve dropped two straight games to San Jose (6-3) and Chicago (4-1).
“They’re playing real well. It’s a good team that’s well-coached and organized,” Peters said. “Three equal pairs on the back, and they don’t really worry about who they’re playing their D against; they have the luxury of six guys who can skate and move the puck. It’s going to be about us and managing the puck. We have to get off to a better start than we have lately in our last couple of games, and I fully expect to do that.”
Drawing back into the Canes lineup will be 20-year-old forward Elias Lindholm, who was a healthy scratch in New York on Saturday. Slotted on the second line to begin the game against St. Louis, Lindholm was dropped to the fourth line and played just 12:53 against the Blues, well below his average of 16:40 per game.
“He’s got to get playing with speed again and playing with pace. He’s got to hang onto the puck, make plays and get back to work,” Peters said. “The length of the All-Star break for a younger guy probably hurt him a little bit, and now that he got to watch a game, it can be beneficial. He watched it, talked to Roddy and met with me, and he was real good about it. We expect him to come in and get right back to work.”
NOTES: Having scored just one goal all season, Alexander Semin could be entering into a favorable match-up: he’s posted seven goals and one assist (eight points) in six career games against the Ducks. … The Canes have earned at least a point in seven of the last 10 meetings against Anaheim.