– A five-game road swing begins with a quick trip up to New York City!
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, videos, photos and more as the day rolls on.
The Canes will be on the ice at Madison Square Garden for an 11:30 a.m. morning skate. We’ll have updates throughout the morning and well into the afternoon, so check back here for more!
SUTTER SET TO MAKE NHL DEBUT
It hasn’t been the quickest of roads for Brody Sutter, but he’s here – and he’s ready to go.
Sutter, undrafted in his first year of eligibility and selected in the seventh round by Carolina in 2011, was recalled on Wednesday evening. After two full professional seasons in Charlotte and Florida, he will make his NHL debut against the Rangers tonight.
“It’s pretty cool,” Sutter said through his smile. “It’s something you dream about, so I’m excited.”
Sutter, 23, played in three of the Hurricanes’ seven exhibition games before being assigned to Charlotte earlier this month. In those three games and throughout camp, he made enough of an impression to be one of the first call-ups.
“He’s worked hard. He had a real good preseason for us, and he had a good training camp,” head coach Bill Peters said. “With the injuries we have, he’s the next guy up. He gets his opportunity, and I expect him to play well.”
“It will probably be a little faster than the preseason games I was in, but I’ll be ready for the challenge,” Sutter said. “I need to be good defensively and make sure that I’m responsible enough so I can get on the ice late in the game.”
Any advice from the head coach?
“He told me to play good tonight so I can earn myself some games out west in the next trip,” Sutter said.
“Have fun. Play hard. Stay above their center because they’re going to stretch you out. Know where they are. Enjoy it. Have a lot of fun,” Peters said.
Though his family won’t be at Madison Square Garden for Sutter’s debut – it’s hard to get to New York City from Calgary on such short notice, he said – he knows they will be watching. And what better way to make your NHL debut than at one of the most historic arenas in the league?
“It’s pretty cool,” Sutter said. “It’s a little bit more of a big stage, but it’s just hockey once you drop the puck. It doesn’t matter where you’re playing.”
LINEUP NOTES AND PETERS’ QUOTES
Despite skating with the team this morning, Jeff Skinner (concussion) and Andrej Sekera (upper body) will not play versus New York tonight.
“I hope to have them both Tuesday,” Peters said. “We’ve got to be smart about this.”
With Skinner and Sekera out, Brody Sutter will make his NHL debut up front, and Brett Bellemore will draw in for his first game of the season on the back-end, paired with Ron Hainsey.
Anton Khudobin will get the start in net, his first career start at Madison Square Garden.
“There has been one a night where you wish you had that play back, I think. And that hurts you when you’ve played one-goal games,” Peters said about goaltending thus far. “If we can play well in front of them – that’s first and foremost – and then them be solid, we’ll give ourselves a chance each and every night.”
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
Jeff Skinner skated with the team but did not take line rushes. With Brody Sutter, recalled yesterday evening, centering the fourth line, I wouldn't expect to see No. 53 tonight.
We'll get definitive word on that, tonight's starter and more after the skate.
CANES VISIT NYC IN SEARCH OF FIRST WIN
The Carolina Hurricanes earned their first point of the season on Tuesday night against Buffalo, fighting back from a two-goal deficit in the final 10 minutes of the third period.
Tonight in New York, the first game of a five-game road trip that will take the team through Western Canada next week, they’ll be looking for their first victory.
“It’s a long trip, but the road can be good for a team,” forward Chris Terry said. “There are some new guys, and we’ll be able to bond. Hopefully we’ll straighten this out and get it on the right track.”
The Rangers have dominated recent play between these two teams, winning 11 of the last 12 contests and scoring four or more goals in nine of those games.
Should Henrik Lundqvist get the nod in net for New York, it will be his 28th appearance versus Carolina; in 27 games, he is 17-9-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average and one shutout.
“He’s a world-class goaltender, so it’s all about us generating quality chances consistently and finding a way to finish,” head coach Bill Peters said. “We haven’t finished easy yet this year, and it doesn’t seem to matter who it is in the other end. We’ve made it hard on ourselves offensively, so we have to have more finish around the net.”
The injury bug affected the Canes again on Tuesday night. Andrej Sekera went head-first into the boards in the first period as he hustled back to break up an odd-man rush; it was a brutal play, and Sekera had to be helped off the ice and did not return.
“I looked at it once and don’t want to look at it again ever,” Peters said. “I’m glad he didn’t break his neck.”
Though he didn’t skate with the team on Wednesday, Sekera did put in on-ice work, and Peters isn’t counting him out for tonight.
“He’s real sore today, obviously. He wanted to try it and skated before the team went out there. Still wanted to go [practice], but I didn’t think that was wise. We gave him the day, and he’s day-to-day,” Peters said on Wednesday. “He’s a warrior, and he wants to play. So yeah, he’s possible.”
Defenseman John-Michael Liles was also “banged up” late in Tuesday’s third period. He didn’t skate with the team on Wednesday.
“I’ll say day-to-day for him,” Peters said. “Belly (Bellemore) can go in if necessary, and we’ve got lots of confidence in him.”
On the good news injury front, Jeff Skinner is traveling with the team and could return to game action as early as tonight.
“I think he’s real close,” Peters said. “There’s also time in between the Rangers game and Winnipeg, so we’ll make the right decision.”
NOTES: Jay Harrison skated in his 300th game as a Hurricane on Tuesday and registered his first point of the season, an assist (his 45th helper with the Canes). … Alexander Semin is four points shy of 500 NHL points.