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Gameday: Canadiens vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

"Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind."

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's Homegrown Series match-up between the Montreal Canadiens 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. We'll have roster updates, quotes from inside the room and much more then.

Last updated: 4:30 p.m.


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
4:30 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco presents tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.

Video: Tools to Victory versus Montreal


PREGAME: RASK AND STEMPNIAK
1:35 p.m.

Forwards Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak preview tonight's match-up with the Montreal Canadiens.

Video: Victor Rask: "Play with a lot of speed"

Video: Lee Stempniak: "We rely on the young guys"


PREGAME: PETERS
11:35 a.m.

It's always a crowd when Montreal is in town, and head coach Bill Peters addressed the media horde after his team's morning skate.

On the pace of tonight's game: "It will be a real quick pace. They've got a quick team and balance in all four lines with speed. It's two teams that play fast through the neutral zone, so I expect a real up-tempo game."

On the Canes' last two wins: "The consistency there is the goals against: one one night and none the next. It was a real good second period against San Jose that I thought was a springboard to the success in the third that we had. We want to continue the same way and be able to play four lines."

On the success of the TSA line through two games: "It's three good players with a lot of hockey sense on that line. They start with the puck. Jordo is a good faceoff guy. Teravainen can also take faceoffs. They're responsible defensively and good in all three zones. They seem to have a little bit of chemistry right now."

On Elias Lindholm and his search for his first goal of the season: "He's been versatile for us. He's played wing, he's played center. We use him 5-on-6, on the power play, on the penalty kill. There's not much more we can ask for there. I just think he needs to get that first one and relax a little bit. Just continue to generate quality chances on a consistent basis. If he does that, it will come."

Video: Bill Peters: "We want to continue the same way"


CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
10:30 a.m.

Here's how the Hurricanes lined up at today's morning skate. These forward lines and defensive pairs should look pretty familiar.

Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
Teravainen-Staal-Aho
Stempniak-Ryan-McGinn
Nordstrom-McClement-Stalberg

Hainsey-Faulk
Slavin-Pesce
Hanifin-Tennyson

Ward
Lack

Andrej Nestrasil, Ryan Murphy and Klas Dahlbeck are expected to be healthy scratches. We'll go inside the Canes room next.

Tweet from @NHLCanes: There's the whistle and the #Canes morning skate is underway! #MTLvsCAR #Redvolution pic.twitter.com/HSizPr557J


CANES GO FOR THREE STRAIGHT
6:00 a.m.

When the Eastern Conference's top team, the Montreal Canadiens, make their first and only visit to Raleigh this season, the Carolina Hurricanes will be eyeing their third consecutive victory.

After dropping the first game in this five-game homestand to the Anaheim Ducks, the Canes scored wins against Washington and San Jose and held their opponents to just a goal in that stretch. Cam Ward pitched a 22-save shutout in Tuesday's 1-0 victory over the Sharks.

"You've got to build some momentum. Certainly these last two games have been our best games of the year. We did it in a real good fashion, playing the way we really wanted to play. We dominated at times. That's a compliment to the guys because those are two very tough teams," Ward said after the game. "We show what we can do when we're on it for sure."

Ward will make his fifth consecutive start in net tonight against the Habs. In six games played in the month of November, Ward has allowed only 10 goals and has posted a 3-1-2 record, a 1.62 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

"He's been very good in the month of November. They go hand-in-hand; our team is starting to play better, and he's starting to play better," head coach Bill Peters said after a Thursday practice at PNC Arena. "We're a little tighter in front of him. You look at the second period the other night, and we gave up two shots. That makes it a little easier on the goaltender, and then he needed to make some big saves."

The Hurricanes likely won't make any other tweaks to their lineup, either.

"We're not looking to make changes," Peters said. "The only time we're looking to make changes is if something's not working. Right now we like the direction we're headed in."

Tonight's game is the first in a back-to-back set for the Canadiens, who will be without forward Alexander Radulov and will start goaltender Al Montoya in net. With 28 points in 17 games (13-2-2), Montreal owns first place in the Eastern Conference.

"They're a good hockey team. It doesn't change for us. We just played against a guy who, I believe, had his second NHL start and held us to one. So it's about what we do, not about the other team's goaltender," Peters said. "What they do with their team is up to them, and I'll prepare our team. We've got to get seconds and thirds no matter who the goaltender is and no matter who the team is we're playing."

CANESPR NOTES: As of Thursday afternoon, the Hurricanes had the league's top penalty kill at 90.5 percent. The team has killed off 15 of its last 15 man disadvantages. … Also in the top five is the Hurricanes' faceoff win percentage, which ranks tied for second best at 53 percent.


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