This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s cross-conference match-up between the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars 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.
You can find a preview of tonight’s game below. We’ll pass along updates as we receive them from the team.Last updated: 3:30 p.m.
GAME NO. 500 A SPECIAL MILESTONE FOR VERSTEEG3:30 p.m.
At 29 years, six months and 25 days old, Kris Versteeg is preparing to play his 500th career game in the National Hockey League.
It’s a commendable and celebrated games-played milestone that Versteeg knew was approaching, and he’ll reach it when the Carolina Hurricanes face off with the Dallas Stars in the first game a four-game road trip.
“It’s exciting. It’s something I never truly thought would ever happen,” he said Monday in Raleigh. “I didn’t even know if I’d ever get one game, so you would have asked me when I was 19 years old, I would have told you that you were crazy.”FULL STORY ›
CANES FACE OFF WITH LEAGUE’S BEST6:00 a.m.
Following back-to-back wins over the weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes hit the road for four straight games, first coming face-to-face with the NHL’s best team, the Dallas Stars.
Tonight marks the second and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Canes and Stars first met on Friday, Nov. 6 in Raleigh, and it was a 1-1 game until the 11:15 mark of the third period when the Stars scored two goals in 2:05 to take a 3-1 lead. They found the empty net with just one second remaining in regulation to secure a 4-1 win.
Since then, the Stars have won nine of 13 games, losing in regulation just twice in that stretch. In fact, through 27 games, Dallas has lost in regulation only five times. With 42 points, they sit atop the NHL standings.
Jamie Benn (18g, 17a) and Tyler Seguin (14g, 21a) each have 35 points in 27 games, and the Canes held the pair to an assist each in the first meeting.
“They’re the best team in the league, and they have arguably one of the best lines in hockey right now,” head coach Bill Peters said after practice Monday. “They’re real quick. They’re real quick in transition, and they get the puck going. We’ve got to make sure we’re skating, and at the same time, we have to make sure they play defense. The best way to slow them down is to spend time in our offensive zone and make them play in the D-zone.”
The Hurricanes are carrying a bit of momentum on the road after wins over Montreal and Arizona on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The team still has a steep hill to climb in order to get back in the mix, but the focus remains on the process – being competitive and engaged each and every night.
“There are eight points available, and we’ve got make sure we get our fair share or more of our fair share of the points, and we’ve got to play the right way in all four games,” Peters said of the road trip. “We’re going into some real tough buildings to play against good, quality teams.”
“We need to win. We need to win now and get back in the race,” Kris Versteeg said. “The guys in here believe we can win, not just every other night, but we’ve got to win and compete every night. When you do that, the feeling in the room changes, and the vibe is more positive. Winning in the end always changes everything.”
Versteeg was a healthy scratch versus Montreal Saturday night and returned to the lineup Sunday, contributing a goal and an assist in the Canes’ 5-4 win over Arizona. He is expected to play in his 500th career game tonight.
“He found a way to come in as a fresh body on a back-to-back. A lot of positives there,” Peters said. “I expect him to be real solid for us, and that line has to be a good line.”
Coming off two straight wins, Cam Ward is expected to get the start in net, but Peters said he would like to get Eddie Lack on a roll sooner rather than later.
“We want to get both goaltenders going better. We want our team defense to be real stout in front of them to give them a chance, and we’ll get there. They’ll both get a chance to get on an extended run, and right now it looks like Wardo is the guy,” Peters said. “We’ll make the decision on a per-game basis, but at some point, [Lack] will get some good starts.”CANESPR NOTES:
The Hurricanes won last season’s meeting in Dallas, 6-4, the franchise’s first win in Big D since Feb. 11, 1996. … Justin Faulk has nine goals, all of which have been scored on the power play. In just 27 games, he has already tied the record for most power-play goals by a Hurricanes defenseman in a season, a mark previously held by Anton Babchuk.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email