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Gameday: Rangers vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Hurricanes are (finally) home!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's home opener featuring the New York Rangers 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 at 10:30 a.m. for their first home morning skate of the season. We'll be rinkside, as always, to provide you with live updates.

Last updated: 4:50 p.m.


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
4:50 p.m.

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

Video: Tools to victory for the Hurricanes


(WEIRD) STAT OF THE DAY
4:05 p.m.

So, here's a stat about the Hurricanes' record in their home openers (W-L-OTL-T):

  • Seasons in which the Canes made the playoffs: 3-0-0-2
  • Seasons in which the Canes missed the playoffs: 0-10-3-0

This, of course, isn't to suggest that the outcome of tonight's game will dictate the Hurricanes' ultimate playoff fate this season.

But it certainly is interesting.


IN THE ROOM
2:35 p.m.

Go inside the Canes room with forwards Jordan Staal and Bryan Bickell and defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce.

Video: Jordan Staal: "A bigger spark"

Video: Bryan Bickell: "Give a good effort tonight"

Video: Jaccob Slavin: "They're a great support system"

Video: Brett Pesce: "We're excited to get back here"


PREGAME: PETERS
12:40 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media in Raleigh after his team's first home morning skate of the season. Here are some highlights, and the full scrum is below.

On the importance of starting off on the right foot at home: "I'd like to get off to a good start. We've done that in the past. … This is a new year, and we have to establish ourselves at home. That starts tonight."

On the pressure of home openers: "I think they fun. You have to relish the opportunity. You play 82 times, so when there is something unique about it, you have to take advantage of it. We're happy to be home. I know I'm happy to have the last change to control some match-ups and the pace of the game a little bit."

On if Jeff Skinner, who skated with the team this morning, will play: "I hope so. He's going to warm-up and let me know after that."

On increasing shot totals: "Too much time in our own zone. We're hemmed in. We want to flip the switch. Instead of us being hemmed in, we want to hem them in. Until we get that figured out, we're going to have shot totals that are more even."

On chemistry with new teammates: "It takes a little bit of time, but time's up."

On tonight's opponent: "They're quick. They have good puck pressure in the D-zone, they transition quick and they push the pace. They've got some guys who can hurt you in transition, so you've got to make sure you put [the puck] in good spots … and establish some O-zone grind time."

On the Canes' identity: "You'll know when you see it. It's like a nickname. You can't give yourself your own nickname."

Video: Peters: "You can't give yourself your own nickname"


CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
10:35 a.m.

Good news for the Hurricanes: it looks as though Jeff Skinner will draw back into the lineup tonight after missing Tuesday's game with a middle-body injury. Here's how the Canes lined up. It will probably look familiar.

Skinner-Rask-Stempniak
Nordstrom-Staal-Aho
Teravainen-Lindholm-Di Giuseppe
Bickell-McClement-Stalberg

Hainsey-Faulk
Slavin-Pesce
Dahlbeck-Hanifin

Ward
Lack

The healthy scratches, then, will be Andrej Nestrasil, Martin Frk and Jakub Nakladal.

We'll go inside the Canes' room at PNC Arena after the skate!

Tweet from @NHLCanes: Noah in the middle. pic.twitter.com/l1uiInQ0gV


CANES SET TO OPEN AT HOME
6:00 a.m.

The National Hockey League's 2016-17 regular season is now more than two weeks old, and the Carolina Hurricanes are finally back in Raleigh to open their 41-game home schedule against the New York Rangers.

After playing their first six games of the season on the road, the Hurricanes are the last team in the NHL to make their home debut.

"Outstanding to be at home," head coach Bill Peters said after practice at Raleigh Center Ice on Thursday. "Can't wait.

"It's nice to come back and play in front of your fans," Jeff Skinner said. "It will be a great atmosphere. We have a lot of guys in here who haven't played here yet … so it will be exciting for a lot of guys."

The Hurricanes are hoping a weekend of home cooking can help them re-discover their team identity after a disjointed road trip. The team brings home a 1-3-2 record and four points in the standings.

"We're scoring, but we're reckless in order to score. I want to tighten up our game. Last year we had an identity as a team," Peters said. "We haven't gotten there yet. You'll know when it's clicking. Right now it's not clicking. It's not clicking for 60 minutes. We're well aware of that, and we're working toward fixing those problems."

"We've got to keep maintaining the focus of getting better. Since camp, that's been our focus," Skinner said. "Now that the games have started for real, you want to lead that into getting points. The road trip's behind us, and we want to take what we can from it."

The Canes are also hoping to have available the services of Skinner, who ranks tied for second on the team in scoring with six points (2g, 4a). Skinner missed Tuesday's game in Detroit with what was described as a middle-body injury. The 24-year-old winger skated at Raleigh Center Ice on Thursday but did not participate in the full team practice.

Skinner's status is still to be determined, but he's hopeful he can get back into the lineup.

"The goal is to get back as soon as possible. We'll see how things go," he said. "I think I had a good skate today, so I'll see how I progress."

"There's a chance he can go," Peters said. "We'll know a lot more in the morning."

The New York Rangers are riding a three-game winning streak, having defeated Washington, Arizona and Boston in the last week. The team is 5-2-0 in its first seven games.

"They've got unbelievable speed," Peters said of tonight's opponent. "They are going to push the pace and be hard to play against."

CANESPR NOTES: Victor Rask owns the fifth-longest point streak (six games: 4g, 3a) to start a season in franchise history. Only Keith Primeau had a longer streak (seven games) since the organization's relocation to North Carolina. … The Rangers have defeated the Hurricanes in 14 of the last 16 meetings between the two teams.


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