This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s Eastern Conference match-up 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.
The Hurricanes will be on the ice at PNC Arena for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate. It’s closed to the public for a Season Ticket Holder event, but updates will be provided here as per usual. Until then, you’ll find a preview of tonight’s game below.Last updated: 3:35 p.m.
DELLACAMERA ON THE CALL3:35 p.m.
Play-by-play man JP Dellacamera will join analyst Tripp Tracy in the Fox Sports Carolinas booth tonight, as Hurricanes play-by-play voice John Forslund is getting some well-deserved national exposure on NBC.
Dellacamera will return next Sunday as Forslund again gets the call on NBC. These will be the first two team telecasts not called by Forslund since the 1995-96 season.
PETERS: PREGAME11:45 a.m.
Head coach Bill Peters said everyone available, including Justin Faulk, will warm up tonight. There are a few players dealing with some illness, as well, so the healthiest bunch will dress.
"Getting close," Peters said of his All-Star defenseman. "Day-to-day. He'll warm up tonight, and we'll see from there."
Here's more of what he discussed with the local and Tampa Bay media.On his message to his team leading into tonight's game:
"Our group is very mature and in a good spot. They're very confident in the way we're playing. I thought we had a real good game the other night against San Jose, a real good second period. I thought the pace of play in the first period was outstanding from both teams. That's what we're looking for again here tonight. We're going to do what we do."On what has spurred the Canes' surge:
"It was probably early December when things turned the corner. We brought some kids up from the American League that gave us a little more pace in the lineup. Specialty teams have been better. ... Our young D are now not as young. Now they have 30, 40, 50 games under their belt, and they're better players because of it."On the chemistry of the team:
"It's a tight-knit group, and it has been for a while. Winning helps that, obviously, but they truly do care about each other and they want to stay together. We're going to make a big push here at the end of the month. I believe there's five games left."On consistency and what produces it:
"It's a mentally tough group. The mind powers the body. If you tell yourself you're tired, you're going to play tired, act tired and look tired. We're not tired. We have a whole summer to get ready to go, and guys do a good job training and getting ready to play. We've stayed relatively healthy, knock on wood. We're in an exciting time of the year."
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE10:30 a.m.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but there were no changes to the Hurricanes' forward lines and defensive pairs this morning. Justin Faulk is skating with the team, but it appears he may sit out another contest.
Versteeg-E. Staal-Di Giuseppe
Cam Ward hasn't lost in regulation in his last 10 starts (6-0-4), and head coach Bill Peters said after Friday's win that he would be relying on Ward heavily down the stretch.
BOLTS VISIT RALEIGH AS CANES’ PLAYOFF PUSH CONTINUES6:00 a.m.
Still in hot pursuit of a wild card playoff spot, the Carolina Hurricanes scored a monumental bounce-back win on Friday night at PNC Arena, defeating the San Jose Sharks after losing a night prior.
Against the Senators, though they tied the game twice, the Hurricanes never led. Against the Sharks, the Hurricanes struck first, via a Chris Terry deflection goal, and never trailed the rest of the way. San Jose would pull within a goal in the third period, but Jeff Skinner’s two goals in the last stanza propelled the Canes to a 5-2 win.
“Everyone found a way to dig deep and contribute,” Skinner said. “That’s a big win for us.”
“We played well. I really liked the way we responded,” head coach Bill Peters said. “I liked all aspects of our game.”
In topping the Sharks, the Hurricanes avoided losing consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Dec. 3. Since then, a stretch of 34 games, the Canes have posted a 19-9-6 record, and their ability of avoiding not gaining points in consecutive matches has aided their surge in the standings.
“We’re fighting and scratching to pick up points,” Eric Staal said. “We’ve got to fight, win and pick up points every night. Other teams in our division are doing the same.”
Other teams in the conference are doing so, as well. The Bolts jumped into the top three in the Atlantic Division with their 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon. It was their second consecutive victory but their first on the road in four games. The Bolts are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games.
The Hurricanes had a scheduled day off on Saturday. They’ll also have won on Monday, in between Sunday’s meeting with Tampa Bay and Tuesday’s homestand capper against Philadelphia.
“I like our schedule. It’s going to give us an opportunity to get into a rhythm. We’re going to take a day off, then we’ll pregame skate, take a day off, pregame skate and play. That’s a real good rhythm. That’s a playoff rhythm,” Peters said after Friday’s game. “Rest is a weapon too, and my guys remind me of that. I believe in that too, I really do. When we’re fresh and we skate, we’re a good hockey team.”
Cam Ward returned to the crease Friday night against San Jose, making 22 saves in his first start since Feb. 12. Ward is 6-0-4 with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in his last 10 starts.
Defenseman Justin Faulk’s status for tonight’s game remains a question mark. He skated Friday but hasn’t practiced with the team since earlier in the week.CANESPR NOTES:
The Canes are just one of four NHL teams (Chicago, Edmonton, St. Louis) to use three rookie defensemen this season. Brett Pesce (4g, 9a), Noah Hanifin (2g, 11a) and Jaccob Slavin (1g, 11a) have each recorded double-digit points while playing in 40-or-more games. … Jeff Skinner (3g, 3a) and Riley Nash (3g, 2a) are each riding four-game point streaks.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email