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Gameday: Hurricanes at Flames

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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CALGARY – The second of 14 back-to-back sets for the Carolina Hurricanes begins tonight in Calgary, a notable setting for a number of players and the head coach.

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.

Important programming note: tonight is the first of 12 games that will be broadcast on SportSouth. This channel isn't typically included in standard packages, but most carriers provide an overflow channel in order to broadcast the game. These channel numbers can vary on a game-to-game basis, so click here to locate your SportSouth channel number.

We’ll have updates throughout the day leading up to the 9:00 p.m. ET puck drop, so check back here for more!



SUTTER COMES HOME

A week ago, Brody Sutter made his NHL debut at Madison Square Garden, affectionately referred to as the "World's Most Famous Arena."

Tonight, he will play his second career NHL game in his hometown.

It doesn't get much better than that.

"It's exciting," he said following the team's morning skate. "I'm pretty lucky that this is the way the schedule turned out, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

Sutter reminisced about seeing "at least 40 or 50 games" at the Saddledome throughout his childhood, admittedly having grown up as a Flames fan.

"It will be a little different being on the ice for one them. I'm excited," he said.

Getting family from Calgary to the East Coast on short notice wasn't really doable for his NHL debut. But tonight? He'll have about 25 people in the stands, including his parents. His dad Duane, who is now a pro scout for the Edmonton Oilers, arrived back home in Calgary last night as Brody completed his trip from Charlotte.

Sutter's parents took him out for dinner after he landed.

"Just the fact that it's my second game in my hometown is a cool experience," he said.



WARD GETS THE START, LILES RETURNS

Cam Ward will get the start in net tonight in Calgary, head coach Bill Peters confirmed. Ward is 2-2-0 with a 3.86 goals-against average against the Flames in five career appearances.

John-Michael Liles, who has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, will draw back into the lineup paired with Ron Hainsey. Jay Harrison and Brett Bellemore will be the healthy extras on defense.



CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE

With the recall of Brody Sutter on Wednesday evening, the Canes have 12 healthy forwards. Here's how they looked in the morning skate:

HURRICANES at FLAMES
Hurricanes at Flames
SCOTIABANK SADDLEDOME | 9 p.m.
TV: SPORTSOUTH | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
ERIC STAAL REJOINS CANES AT PRACTICE
VIDEOS
EXCLUSIVE: ERIC STAAL BACK ON THE ICE
GAMEDAY LINKS
SPORTSOUTH CHANNEL FINDER
IN-GAME TWITTER UPDATES
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Tlusty-Rask-Semin
Skinner-Nash-Lindholm
Terry-McClement-Boychuk
Malone-Sutter-Brown

After skating on the wing in Winnipeg, Ryan Murphy will drop back to his conventional position. Here are the defensive pairs:

Sekera-Faulk
Gleason-Murphy
Hainsey-Liles
Harrison-Bellemore

Based on line rushes, I'm not sure which defensive pair will sit tonight, but it will either be Jay Harrison and Brett Bellemore or Ron Hainsey and John-Michael Liles. We'll double-check on that with head coach Bill Peters after the skate. It also appears to be Cam Ward getting the start in net; we'll confirm with Peters in just a bit.



A CALGARY HOMECOMING

As Victor Rask skated onto the ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday for practice, a number of Calgary Hitmen players had gathered in the stands.

This may be Rask’s first time visiting Calgary as an NHL professional, but he’s no stranger to the Saddledome, where he played two seasons with the Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

“I’m really excited,” he said on Wednesday. “My billet mom is coming to watch tomorrow, so it will be fun.”

“It’s exciting for him,” Alberta native Zach Boychuk said. “He’s spent a lot of time in this building, so it’s probably bringing back lots of memories.”

“He’s scored a lot of goals in this building, and we’ll need him to get one tomorrow,” head coach Bill Peters said.

Should Rask find the back of the net, it would be his first NHL goal and point.

“That would be special,” he said.

Playing in Calgary will also be a special moment for the aforementioned Boychuck, who grew up about a half-hour north of downtown Calgary.

“I’ll have lots of people coming in from all over – Saskatchewan, Northern Alberta, Southern Alberta and my family from Airdrie,” he said.

Though it will be the first time Boychuk has played in Calgary while wearing a Hurricanes’ sweater, it won’t be his first NHL game back home. That came on March 15, 2013 while Boychuk was with Nashville on his mini tour of the league.

Thursday’s match will, however, mark Boychuk’s 100th career NHL game – and he gets to play it in front of a collection of familiar faces.

“It’s pretty exciting. You always look forward to coming back to your hometown and getting to play against the team you grew up watching and cheering for,” he said after practice on Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to seeing my family tonight for dinner and getting everybody out to the game tomorrow.”

And then there’s the man behind the bench, Bill Peters, who hails from Three Hills, Alberta, about an hour-and-a-half northeast of Calgary. He’ll have plenty of friends and family attending the game as well – and what better setting to secure his first victory as an NHL bench boss?

“It’s always fun to be back home,” he said. “I grew up in this area. Lot of family and friends, and it’s always good to be back in Alberta.”

Oh, and there’s also Brody Sutter, who will get the chance to play in his hometown in just his second career NHL game. We’ll have more from him following the Canes’ morning skate.



CANES LOOK TO SNAP WINLESS STREAK

The Carolina Hurricanes are 0-3-2 to start the 2014-15 season, and they haven’t won in Calgary since Dec. 12, 2002, going 0-4-1 since.

A win would snap both unsightly streaks in one fell swoop.

“It's going to take responsible play by all 18 guys. Everyone's got to be on the same page. Everyone's got to be hungry in order for it to happen," head coach Bill Peters said after Tuesday’s 3-1 loss in Winnipeg of what needs to happen to secure a win. "We're not happy with our team game."

The Flames, meanwhile, are 0-1-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome to begin the season, but a 4-2-0 record on the road has them positioned in the middle of the pack of the Western Conference’s Pacific Division with nine points.

“I expect us to come out and play hard with lots of energy,” Peters said on Wednesday after practice.

Brody Sutter was recalled from Charlotte on Wednesday evening, giving the Hurricanes a conventional 12 healthy forwards; Ryan Murphy skated as a winger (and defenseman, at times) in Winnipeg on Tuesday night, and Peters said he didn’t forsee taking him out of the lineup. With that in mind, there could be a change or two on the back-end.

There’s no word on who will start in net for Carolina. Anton Khudobin has gotten the nod in the last two games; he made 33 saves on 34 shots in New York and 23 saves on 26 shots in Winnipeg. Should the Canes look to Cam Ward, it will be his sixth appearance versus Calgary, as he is 2-2-0 with a 3.86 goals-against average against the Flames in his career.

NOTES: Chris Terry has points in three straight games (2g, 2a). He ranks tied with Jiri Tlusty for the team-lead in points with five (3g, 2a). He’s also one of three plus-players for the Hurricanes at a team-best plus-4. … Jiri Tlusty has already equaled one fourth of his goal output from last season (16 goals) in just five games. He netted a career-high 23 goals in 2012-13.



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