– The last week of the season is upon us.
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 Buffalo Sabres 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.
The Hurricanes will be on the ice at First Niagara Center at 11:30 a.m. for their morning skate, so check back here then for rinkside updates.Last updated: 3:15 p.m.
NASH WORKING HIS WAY BACK FROM ODD CONCUSSION3:15 p.m.
Of all the ways to sustain a concussion in the fast-paced, physical sport of hockey, Riley Nash has a rather unique story.
On Sunday, March 29, as the Hurricanes and Bruins were on the ice preparing for their early evening faceoff, warm-ups were winding down. The Canes were running one last drill, if you even want to call it that: gathering around the net and trying to whack the puck past Cam Ward. As is routine, Jeff Skinner lobbed a puck in from just inside the blue line. Alexander Semin flattened his blade, and the puck caromed off his stick and into the right side of Nash’s head – right where his ear was exposed and unprotected.
“I was wearing [a helmet]. It got right in the, I think it’s like, three-inch by four-inch hole that we don’t have protection on. It’s just one of those things,” Nash said. “It’s a little odd. Not something you’d ever guess would happen and get a concussion. But honestly it’s kind of weird it doesn’t happen more with how many pucks are flying around out there, how little face shield we wear, no ear protection and all that.”FULL STORY ›
QUOTE 'EM1:00 p.m.
Head coach Bill Peters met with the media after the team's morning skate.On what he wants to see from his team in the last four games:
"Lots of things. We have a reasonable record at home. It could be better, but we’re above .500 and have done a good job at home here recently. We have to shore up our road game moving forward, and that starts right here tonight. ... We want to play well on the road and have good habits to finish the year. Positive things to build on. There are guys that can round up some numbers, too. Last I looked, Skinny’s at 18, and it’d be nice to get him to 20. Victor, not sure where he’s at anymore, but I know Lindy’s at 17 after the game at home against Philly. It’d be nice to get him to 20. There are individual things and team things, but we want to do it right. We want to be pleased with our performance coming down the stretch."On translating success at home to the road:
"At home, we’ve typically had real good starts. We’ve started on time and been stingy defensively. We’ve scored a little bit more at home, I think. We’ve got to be willing to go to the net to generate those chances, and when I talk about that, it’s a simple term but sometimes you have to go to the net and attract a defender to open up a linemate."On Lindholm with the Staals:
"It’s a good complement. He’s a very smart player, and he reads the ice well. ... It's a good line."On goaltending in this back-to-back set:
"Ward's in net tonight. I like if you win you stay in. Dave (Marcoux) and I talked about it quite a bit. We'll see, but we've got to get through tonight with the right result."On Rissanen and Nash skating:
"Good for him and Nasher. We’ve got to be smart about these guys. Pete will do a good job keeping us up to speed on how close they’re actually getting. One’s a concussion, so you have to be smart about that. The other one is a knee injury where the kid has worked real hard. If he can find a way to get in the mix, so be it, but we’re not going to put a guy out there who’s not 100 percent."
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE11:30 a.m.
Here's what lineup the Canes will utilize tonight versus Buffalo.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Lindholm
Ryan Murphy appears to be the healthy extra on defense. Additionally, Riley Nash (concussion) and Rasmus Rissanen (MCL) skated in yellow, no-contact sweaters this morning. I spoke with Nash on Friday after his first practice with the team, and a story will be posted shortly today.
Stay tuned for more from inside the room following the skate.
LAST ROAD TRIP BEGINS IN BUFFALO6:00 a.m.
Heading into the final week of the 2014-15 regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes are coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers at home on Saturday afternoon.
Now, they’ll be looking to translate that success at home, where they’ve won three of four games, to the road, where they have lost three straight and been outscored 14-3.
“For the most part this season, we’ve been pretty good here in our building,” Eric Staal said after Saturday’s game. “We need to keep improving, and now it’s the steps on the road that we need to get better at.”
The Hurricanes held a 2-0 lead over Philadelphia in the second period on Saturday, but the Flyers erased that deficit and scored a goal late in regulation to force extra hockey. Despite surrendering the late tally, the Hurricanes didn’t let their effort sag.
“It’s never easy when you get scored on late, but I didn’t sense any panic,” said Cam Ward, who posted his third straight win over Philadelphia this season. “I thought in the overtime period, we had some looks. I don’t think we gave up a shot … and we were able to bear down. It was a good mental test for the guys, and it’s important that we keep it going to the end of the season.”
Tonight’s game in Buffalo marks the first of three on the road for the Hurricanes in their final road trip of the year. The Canes are just 11-23-4 away from Raleigh this season.
After winning two games in a row over Arizona and Toronto, the Sabres, who sit in last place in the league with 52 points, have now lost two straight to Chicago and the New York Islanders.
Tonight marks the Hurricanes’ first and only trip to Buffalo of the regular season and their first trip back since Jordan Staal sustained a broken leg in the preseason.
NOTES: Carolina is 10-2-3 in their last 15 games against Buffalo, including 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. … Elias Lindholm has points (1g, 1a) in two straight games.