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Gameday: Penguins vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Two in a row? Let’s make it three.


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s 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.

A preview of tonight’s game can be found below. We’ll be posted up rinkside at PNC Arena to bring you updates from the Canes’ 10:30 morning skate and beyond.

Last updated: 11:50 a.m.



BEFORE THE FACEOFF

2:10 p.m.

Michelle McMahon previews tonight's Metropolitan Division showdown between the Penguins and Hurricanes.




PREGAME: PETERS
11:50 a.m.

As per usual, head coach Bill Peters met with the media after the team's morning skate. He confirmed that Victor Rask (upper body) would return to the lineup tonight and that Cam Ward would get the start in net.

Here's a sampling of what he had to say.

On injury updates for Rask and others: "I've got him playing. ... We're getting a couple guys closer with Di Giuseppe and Gerbe, so hopefully we'll get some good news on them, too."

On the first meeting between these two teams, a 2-1 win for the Canes: "It was very tight. I thought it was a high-level game both ways, and I expect more of the same tonight."

On Ward getting the start: "He's played well and deserves to continue to play. His ability to handle the puck helps our young D."

On six points (3g, 3a) in the last three games for Jordan Staal: "He's continuing to create grade-A chances on a consistent basis, and now they're starting to find their way in. Hopefully this continues on for a long time here. It's the process."

On Rod Brind'Amour's induction into the NC Sports Hall of Fame: "It's a great honor and well-deserved."




CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
10:40 a.m.

It looks like the Hurricanes may get one body back from the injured list today, based on line rushes from this morning's skate: Victor Rask, who has missed two games with an upper-body injury centered a line with Jeff Skinner and Brock McGinn at his sides.

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Rask-McGinn
Malone-McClement-Nash

Liles-Faulk
Slavin-Hainsey
Hanifin-Pesce

Ward
Lack

Nathan Gerbe (lower body) and Phil Di Giuseppe (concussion) are also skating today, but they weren't actively involved in line rushes.

Michal Jordan and Chris Terry look to be the healthy extras for tonight.

We'll have additional updates from inside the room in just a bit.




CANES LOOK TO BUILD STREAK AS PENS COME TO TOWN
6:00 a.m.

Following two divisional wins over the weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes will be looking for another when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town.

PENGUINS vs. HURRICANES
Penguins vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
STAAL WINS IT FOR CANES IN OT
INFOGRAPHIC: CAR 4, CBJ 3 (OT)
VIDEOS
GAME HIGHLIGHTS: CAR 4, CBJ 3 (OT)
GAMEDAY LINKS
BUY TICKETS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
The Hurricanes doubled up on the Columbus Blue Jackets, defeating them 4-1 on Friday night at PNC Arena and 4-3 in overtime the next night in Columbus. Elias Lindholm scored twice and Cam Ward made 35 saves in Friday’s game, while Jordan Staal netted the game-winning goal at the 2:45 mark of overtime on Saturday.

The back-to-back wins carried the Hurricanes to hockey .500 (18-18-7) for the first time this season and the first time since the conclusion of the 2013-14 season (36-35-11).

“We’re in every game,” head coach Bill Peters said. “We’re a better team now than we were a month ago, and we’re a better team now than we were at training camp. It’s going in the right direction.”

With 43 points in the standings, the Hurricanes are four points out of a wild card spot. That’s within striking distance, certainly, but still with work to be done.

“You look at the standings every day, and you look at everything – your power play, penalty kill, all the key stats you think influence wins and losses. Do you start running numbers and doing projections? No, you don’t have time for that, and it changes. It’s too dynamic,” Peters said. “You don’t play yesterday, and everyone in your division or conference plays, and you’re losing ground. It’s no different than when we went to the rink in Columbus on Saturday. We had already lost ground. … You’re just keeping up in that situation.”

The Canes now face another busy week, which includes four games over six days.

“They know what they have to do away from the rink with their nutrition and making sure they get proper rest,” Peters said Monday. “Today is a good example of it. We just made the decision that we didn’t think there was enough to be gained by going on the ice as a group, so the guys that needed the ice time are out (skating). We’ll keep everyone sharp with a real good pregame skate tomorrow and continue on from there.”

The Penguins come into tonight’s game with a 5-3-2 record in their last 10 games. These two teams first met this season in Pittsburgh on Dec. 19, a 2-1 victory for the Hurricanes.

“It was a 2-1 game, and all the goals in that game were on the power play. Their power play is very hot right now,” Peters said. “They’re doing some good things. We have to make sure we’re playing a disciplined and intelligent game.”

The Hurricanes are hoping to get some good news on the injury front in the near future. Victor Rask (upper body, two games missed), Phil Di Giuseppe (concussion, four games missed) and Nathan Gerbe (lower body, 23 games missed) all skated on Monday.

“I’m not going to rule anybody out,” Peters said Monday. “I’m hoping to get some good news from Pete here this afternoon as soon as these guys are done skating.”

CANESPR NOTES: Kris Versteeg recorded his 300th career NHL point with a goal in Columbus on Saturday. He’s tallied 25 points (6g, 19a) in 42 games played with the Canes this season, leading the team in assists and ranking second in points. … The Hurricanes have a 16-10-4 home record against the Penguins since moving into PNC Arena in 1999, and they’ve earned at least one point in 15 of their last 22 home games against the Pens.



Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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