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Gameday: Hurricanes at Predators

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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NASHVILLE – Still undefeated in 2015, and it’s the fathers trip in Nashville!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game between the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes 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.

Important programming note: today’s game 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 (http://hurricanes.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=45142) to locate your SportSouth channel number.

A projected lineup and preview of tonight’s game, which is an 8 p.m. EST faceoff, can be found below. The Canes will be on the ice at Bridgestone Arena for their morning skate at 11:30 a.m. Central time, which will be just after noon on the East Coast. Check back here then for more!

Last updated: 1:45 p.m.



WARD STARTS, PLUS OTHER NOTES & QUOTES
1:45 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters confirmed that Cam Ward will start in net tonight for the Hurricanes. Ward made 32 saves on 33 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Predators in Raleigh on Dec. 2.

"We have two good goaltenders playing real well right now, but Wardo is our starter. He's our No. 1 guy," Peters said.

The Hurricanes again had all 25 players accounted for at the morning skate, but the lineup will remain as listed below.

Here's more from Peters, who spoke after the skate:

On the last meeting between the two teams: "I thought it was a real good game both ways. I thought both teams played fast. It was an up-tempo game, and we expect more of the same here tonight. They've scored a lot here recently, so we have to make sure we're managing the puck properly."

On the keys for tonight: "We want to play with the puck. We want to have it. We've got a lefty and righty in all three [defensive] pairs now, so we think we can make more plays through the neutral zone instead of just being a dump-and-chase team."

On the importance of playing with a lead against a team that is 14-1-2 at home: "It's real important tonight for sure. They're a good team whether it's here or on the road. Getting off to a good, quality start offensively is important for our group, our mindset and our psyche."

On internal competition: "We're relatively healthy. We've got guys working real hard trying to get back into the lineup. I think we have some real good internal competition right now that's making everybody sharp and focused."




DADS AT MORNING SKATE
12:20 p.m.

The Canes are getting ready to take the ice here at Bridgestone Arena for the morning skate, and the dads are along for the ride.




CANES PROJECTED LINEUP
6:00 a.m.

Head coach Bill Peters said the Canes will ice the same lineup they did on Sunday afternoon against Boston.

“We won, played hard and played real well,” he said after Monday’s practice in Raleigh. “Everyone deserves to play again.”

So, barring a freak injury or sickness between now and then, here’s how the lineup will look:

HURRICANES at PREDATORS
Hurricanes at Predators
BRIDGESTONE ARENA | 8 p.m.
TV: SPORTSOUTH | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
RECAP: CAR 2, BOS 1 (SO)
MALONE AIMING TO PRESERVE ROSTER SPOT
VIDEOS
RINK REPORT: JAN. 5
GAMEDAY LINKS
SPORTSOUTH INFO
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
E. Staal-J. Staal-Lindholm
Gerbe-Rask-Tlusty
Skinner-Nash-Terry
Malone-McClement-Dwyer

Sekera-Faulk
Hainsey-Bellemore
Gleason-Murphy

A starting goaltender is still to be decided. In his first start since Dec. 23, a 2-1 shootout victory in New Jersey, Anton Khudobin earned his second straight win in a 2-1 shootout victory over Boston. Cam Ward started in the four games prior to Sunday, stopping 112 of 119 shots (.941 save percentage) in that stretch.

“We factor in as much as we can,” Peters said about the goaltending decision-making process. “We look at head-to-head career records against teams and everything else.”



WITH DADS, CANES LOOK TO MAKE IT THREE IN A ROW
6:00 a.m.

When the Carolina Hurricanes look to stretch their winning streak to three games, which would be a first since early November, they’ll have some familiar faces in attendance: their fathers.

This one-game road trip to Nashville is the locale for the annual fathers trip, in which the dads get a chance to experience life on the road with their sons and tour the city.

“I think it’s awesome. Your family is your foundation,” head coach Bill Peters said. “The biggest thing for me is I look at how hard my dad worked and what he had to do to provide for myself and two sisters. It was a good, solid upbringing, and you want to pass that along to your kids and to other people you touch in your life.”

On the Ice, the Hurricanes will be looking to remain undefeated in 2015 after a pair of 2-1 wins over Philadelphia and Boston to begin the New Year.

“I like the consistency,” Peters said of his team’s game. “I like the fact that we’ve played very hard and had good speed throughout the lineup.”

And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So the Hurricanes plan to dress the same group of 20 that faced Boston in a 2-1 shootout decision on Sunday afternoon.

“We won, played hard and played real well,” Peters said. “Everyone deserves to play again.”

Win or loss, the score of 2-1 has been a familiar sight as of late; it has cropped up in nine of 16 games dating back to the first of December. The first of those games was a 2-1 Canes win over Nashville at PNC Arena.

“2-1, as long as we’re on the right side of the ledger,” Peters said. “I’d like to get beyond two, believe me.”

Helping the Canes along in their last two wins has been getting on the board first and being able to play with a lead.

“It’s a lot easier to play in this league … if you can get a lead,” Peters said. “As a coach, what you can talk about is keeping your foot on the gas and getting the next one. We want to get the first one and build on it. Once we get to two, we want to get to three. We’re going to keep preaching that and keep working toward scoring more goals.”

On Dec. 5, 2013, the Canes won in Nashville for the first time since Dec. 3, 2002, snapping a five-game losing streak at Bridgestone Arena. Having already faced and defeated Nashville once this season, the Canes know what to expect from the Central Division-leading Predators who are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and 14-2-1 at home.

“They score. They’ve got a real mobile back-end. I like their team a lot,” Peters said. “They’re deep up front, and they’ve got a world-class goalie in Pekka Rinne.”

NOTES: Brad Malone has points in two straight games (1g, 1a). … Eric Staal remains a goal shy of 300 in his career. … Jeff Skinner has 10 points (5g, 5a) in six career games against Nashville. He posted a goal and an assist in the Canes’ 2-1 win over the Predators on Dec. 2.



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