Welcome back, everybody!
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, videos, photos and more as puck drop draws near.
A projected lineup and a preview of tonight’s nationally televised game can be found below. The Canes will hold a 10:30 a.m. morning skate at PNC Arena ahead of the 7:30 p.m. faceoff. Check back here for plenty more!Last updated: 5:30 p.m.
BEFORE THE FACEOFF5:30 p.m.
Hear from head coaches Bill Peters and Jon Cooper to set the table for tonight's match-up!
MURPHY EXPECTED BACK IN LINEUP, KHUDOBIN TO START11:45 a.m.
Ryan Murphy tallied three assists and was a game-best plus-5 in last night's AHL All-Star Classic. Tonight, he's expected back in the Hurricanes' lineup.
Head coach Bill Peters said Murphy had a morning flight out of Utica and is expected to land in Charlotte shortly after midday.
"I have him in the lineup," Peters said. "If he makes it, he’s in the lineup."
Anton Khudobin will make his third consecutive start in net. Dating back to the third period against Vancouver, Khudobin has played in seven straight periods. Beginning with a shootout victory in New Jersey prior to Christmas, Khudobin has won his last five starts.
"We’ve got a pretty deep lineup right now," Peters said. "Everyone is healthy, and everyone is available, and we’re looking forward to getting started again."
Coming off a near-weeklong break for All-Star festivities, it will be interesting to see how the Canes (and Lightning) respond in tonight's match-up.
"We’re coming off six days off, so we’re just trying to get started again. We were on a pretty good roll going into the break," Peters said. "It takes a little bit of your rhythm away, so I’m interested to see how we are tonight. We want to make sure we keep our shifts short and share the workload."
UPDATED: Projected defensive pairs, assuming Murphy makes it to Raleigh in time (which he should).
RYAN MURPHY RECALLED10:15 a.m.
Ryan Murphy is back with the big club after participating in the AHL All-Star Classic on Monday night. All the newsy details can be found here
The Canes now have seven defensemen in Raleigh, and we'll see if this affects tonight's lineup very shortly, as the morning skate is slated to begin at 10:30 a.m.
CANES PROJECTED LINEUP6:00 a.m.
Based on Monday’s practice, here’s how we expect the Canes lineup to look tonight versus Tampa Bay.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Tlusty
A starting goaltender has yet to be named. Anton Khudobin has started in the team’s most recent two games, winning both and making 64 saves on 67 shots (.955 save percentage); after starting the season 0-8-2, Khudobin has won five consecutive starts. Cam Ward is 11-17-3 on the year, his last start coming on Jan. 17 against Vancouver.
CANES RETURN AFTER ALL-STAR BREAK TO HOST BOLTS6:00 a.m.
After a near-weeklong break for the NHL’s All-Star Weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes are back for their final 36 games of the 2014-15 season.
That stretch begins tonight when the Canes host the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning in the third and final meeting between the old Southeast Division foes this season.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Hurricanes, who have not played since last Monday – a decisive 4-1 win in Toronto – and have practiced just once since: yesterday afternoon.
“We need to make sure we’re getting the most out of this practice,” Eric Staal said. “We don’t have a lot of time before the game tomorrow, but you make sure you’re warmed up properly, and you try to get the pace up to be ready for tomorrow.”
“Some guys looked like there was no rust in their game,” head coach Bill Peters said after a skating and battle-filled practice. “I thought Eric Staal was shooting the puck a ton here today and scored a bunch of goals. But it takes time.
“We want to make sure we got up and down and skated enough. We want to make sure we had our legs underneath us,” he continued. “I think we’re a good skating team when we’re playing hard and playing properly, so I wanted to make sure that we skated today and got a little cardio work in.”
But, certainly, an extended break begets a bit of disorganization, and that’s to be expected in the first 10 or 20 minutes of tonight’s game.
“It’s tough. You’re in the routine of every day, and then all of a sudden you take multiple days off in a row,” Peters said. “It takes a little bit of time to get your timing back and everything else.”
The Hurricanes bring a two-game winning streak and a 6-2-1 record in the New Year into tonight’s game.
“We were playing good hockey coming into the break, and now we have to find our game again,” Peters said. “We want to continue to play well and make it hard on teams, for sure.”
Tonight, the Canes will face a team that has beaten Carolina by a score of 2-1 twice in December. Tampa Bay has won three straight and is 6-3-0 in 2015.
“We’ve got to continue to get better. There are a couple of areas that we just have to maintain. We’re very happy with our penalty kill,” Peters said. “We’ve got to get our power play going a little better. And we’ve got to continue to score. We’ve scored a little bit more here recently, but if you look at it, we’re the second-lowest scoring team in the NHL. We want to make sure we have that under control. … A lot of things we can continue to do to lay a foundation moving forward.”
NOTES: Fourth-line offense: Brad Malone has points in three straight games (2g, 1a), and Jay McClement and Patrick Dwyer (0g, 2a each) have points in two straight games. The trio has combined for 13 points (5g, 8a) this month, and the Canes are 5-0-0 in January when the fourth line scores a goal.