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Gameday: Hurricanes at Penguins

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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PITTSBURGH – Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you all had a fun-filled day of good food and good hospitality with your family and friends. Now, heat up those leftovers and get ready for some hockey!

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 notes, photos and more as the day rolls on.

A quick preview and a projected lineup can be found below. Check back here later this morning for more, as the Canes take the ice at CONSOL Energy Center for an 11:30 a.m. morning skate.



OK, DISREGARD THE NOTES ABOUT THE DEFENSE

Line rushes can be deceiving. The Hurricanes plan to dress seven defensemen tonight, according to head coach Bill Peters. Forwards Zach Boychuk and Brad Malone will be the healthy extras. Peters said the Canes have "a couple guys banged up" on defense, and they don't want to be caught in a situation in which they have just five healthy defensemen on the bench.

So, finally, here is the actual Canes lineup:

Tlusty-E. Staal-Lindholm
Gerbe-Nash-Semin
Skinner-Rask-Nestrasil
McClement-Dwyer

Sekera-Faulk
Hainsey-Liles
Gleason-Jordan
Harrison

And here's more of what Peters had to say after the morning skate:

On the Penguins' quick starts and what the Canes need to do to combat that: "Whether they score first or not, in the first period they are a very dynamic team. They start on time, and obviously that was a problem for us in our last game, and it can’t be a problem for us this weekend or moving forward. In the National League, if you’re playing from behind, you’re going to make it a tough night, tougher than it needs to be. We need to start on time tonight, and I’d love to get on the board first.”



NOTES FROM THE MORNING SKATE

Yesterday, it appeared Tim Gleason would be the extra on defense, but today, that looks to again be Jay Harrison. The forward lines remained consistent from yesterday's practice (see below), but here are the new defensive pairs:

Sekera-Faulk
Hainsey-Liles
Gleason-Jordan


More coming from the locker room soon.



CANES PROJECTED LINEUP

The Hurricanes practiced at CONSOL Energy Center on Thanksgiving Day. The forward lines were tweaked just slightly from Wednesday night’s game in Florida. Here’s what we saw in practice:

Tlusty-E. Staal-Lindholm
Gerbe-Nash-Semin
Skinner-Rask-Nestrasil
Boychuk-McClement-Dwyer

“We’re still up in the air here. We’ve talked about a bunch of different line combinations, and we put those guys together today,” head coach Bill Peters said after practice on Thursday. “I won’t commit to that for sure, but we’ll beat it up here a little more this afternoon and make a decision.”

HURRICANES at PENGUINS
Hurricanes at Penguins
CONSOL ENERGY CENTER | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
RECAP: FLA 1, CAR 0
TWEETMAIL NO. 41
VIDEOS
RINK REPORT: MOVEMBER UPDATE
GAMEDAY LINKS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
Sekera-Faulk
Hainsey-Liles
Harrison-Jordan

With these groupings, Brad Malone and Tim Gleason appeared to be the extras. We’ll confirm that and observe any potential changes after the morning skate.

Cam Ward is slated to get the start in net, his 12th of the month and fifth in a row. The Canes’ netminder owns a 2.11 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in November.



CANES AIM TO SNAP SKID AGAINST PENS

The Carolina Hurricanes will look to snap a three-game losing skid when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night in the first game of a home-and-home, back-to-back set between the two Metropolitan Division opponents.

The Hurricanes come into the post-Thanksgiving tilt having lost six of their last seven games, that coming after the team recorded points in six straight games to begin the month. Recently, one goal has been the fine-line difference between points and a loss, as the team’s last five losses have come by just a goal (minus the late empty-net tally in San Jose’s 2-0 win).

Most recently on Wednesday night in Florida, the Hurricanes surrendered what would be the game-winning goal just 21 seconds into the match. The team knows it can ill-afford to spot the 15-4-2 Pens an early lead.

“We’re going to have to start on time. We can’t survive the start we had yesterday, obviously,” head coach Bill Peters said after a Thanksgiving Day practice. “We’re going to have to manage the puck properly and stay out of the box. Their power play is world-class. We’re going to have to play a real good, complete game.”

Starting on time will be especially vital against the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins that have been notoriously quick-starting this season. Pittsburgh has scored first in 17 of its first 21 games, including eight of 10 home games. When scoring first, they hold a 12-3-2 record.

Carolina, meanwhile, is just 2-10-2 when the opposition nets first and 1-8-2 when trailing after one period of play.

Friday’s tilt between the Canes and Pens will be the first of four this season; Carolina posted a 1-2-1 record in last season’s series. It is also begins the Hurricanes’ sixth of 14 sets of back-to-back games this season. They are currently slightly more successful in the front halves, going 2-3-0, versus a 1-3-1 record in the second games.

By Saturday, the Hurricanes will have wrapped up their November schedule with 15 games in the books over a span of 29 days. Considering how frequently the team has been in action and a back-to-back with travel against the same team, Peters said he plans on rotating goaltenders.

“We’re going to split them, for sure. We’ll talk about it again here today, but I think we’re going to go Wardo and Dobby,” he said. “We might go the other way, too. Definitely each guy will play one of the two games.”

Should Ward start, it would be his 12th start of the month and fifth in a row. In 21 career appearances against Pittsburgh, he owns a 12-6-3 record with a 2.39 goals-against average.

NOTES: This will be the first game in which the Hurricanes face the Penguins with Jim Rutherford serving as Pittsburgh’s general manager. … Milestones to watch include Alexander Semin being a point shy of 500 career NHL points and Eric Staal being five goals shy of 300 in his career.



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