Now playing: Pearl Jam’s “Ten” album.
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s Metropolitan Division tilt between the Pittsburgh Penguins 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 Area for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate. Check back here then for updates!Last updates: 4:30 p.m.
BEFORE THE FACEOFF4:30 p.m.
Setting the table for tonight's Metropolitan Division match-up!
QUOTE 'EM12:00 p.m.
Head coach Bill Peters met with the media following the morning skate.On the opposition:
"They’ll be real good. The St. Louis game was an intense game. They were on the body and physical, and it could have gone either way. ... We’ll be ready."On Cam Ward:
"He’ll be real good. He’s got his health back and is strong again. He’ll be good from now to the end of the year."On matching up Jordan Staal against Sidney Crosby:
"That’d be safe to say, yeah. He’ll get a lot of starts, for sure, off face-offs against Sid, and we’ll have to make sure we have the right match-ups throughout the night.”On Jordan Staal:
"He’s been outstanding. He’s been excellent for us, making a big impact coming back into our lineup. It gives us a lot of flexibility as a team and coaching staff. We’re going to start using him on the penalty kill again. He’s an excellent penalty killer and has been his whole life."
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE10:45 a.m.
Here are the forward lines and defensive pairs from the Hurricanes' morning skate.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Gerbe
It appears Patrick Dwyer and Brett Bellemore will be the healthy extras for tonight's game. We'll have more updates from inside the room following the skate.
10 GAMES REMAIN FOR CANES6:00 a.m.
Just 10 games remain for the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2014-15 regular season. Even though the Canes are already eliminated from playoff contention, you wouldn’t know that by the way head coach Bill Peters led practice on Wednesday and wants his team to play down the final stretch of the season.
“We went over some details in the defensive zone and talked about a few other things from the neutral zone. I thought the guys were real good today,” Peters said. “The effort was good, and we’re going to work right until the end.”
Remaining on the schedule are 10 games over the next 17 days.
“It’s a great time to evaluate the character of your team at this time of year, it really is,” Peters said. “We’re going to continue to prepare the way we have all year. We’re going to continue to practice properly and play every game because it has meaning.”
More than half of the games left in the season will be played against playoff-bound teams or those jockeying for a final spot in the postseason.
“Who continues to play well, who continues to play hard, who continues to do it right. We talk about wanting guys who are everyday-ers, and we’re near the end of the season. It’s the best hockey we will play right now – the best opponents, the most desperate teams, the teams that are playing playoff-style hockey,” Peters said. “If you can play against these good teams at this time of the year, you’re proving that we want moving forward. All of a sudden if you fall off the face of the earth and can’t keep up, then we have questions on if you can play playoff-style hockey. It’s a great evaluation time of the year, and guys are playing hard.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are currently in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 91 points, come to town to begin the final stretch of 10 games. The game, the fourth and final meeting between the divisional opponents this season, comes after a two-day gap in between games, a first for the Canes in a month.
“Any time you get a day off for the players, it’s good. It gives the staff an opportunity to get organized for the final stretch run. I did the math last night: we’re down to 10 games, four practices and seven pregame skates. So, there’s not a lot left. Now we’re down to three practices,” Peters said. “It’s all laid out, and we’re organized and ready to finish the year.”
In the first two meetings of the season between the Canes and Pens, the road team claimed victory in a back-to-back, home-and-home set. The Penguins bested Carolina 2-1 on New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh.
Cam Ward, who has been battling and subsequently recovering from the flu for the last week-and-a-half, will get the nod in net against Pittsburgh, his first start since March 14 against Florida.
“He’s good,” Peters said. “He’s over the sickness. It just took longer than we would have liked. It was a great opportunity for Dobby, and he did well in his opportunity. Now we’ll go back to Wardo here against Pittsburgh.”
NOTES: The Canes are 15-10-4 at home against the Penguins since moving into PNC Arena in 1999. … Victor Rask (1g, 1a) and John-Michael Liles (2a) each have points in two straight games.