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Gameday: Penguins vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
The boys (both present and past) are back in town!


This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s Metropolitan Division match-up 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 Arena for a 10:30 a.m. morning skate, which we will be streaming live. Until then, check out a preview of tonight’s game below.

Last updated: 4:00 p.m.



THE STANLEY CUP HAS ARRIVED
4:00 p.m.

It's here!

For complete information on all the Stanley Cup happenings this weekend, click here.



PESCE ACTIVATED FROM IR
12:30 p.m.

As expected, defenseman Brett Pesce has been activated from injured reserve. He's expected to return to the lineup tonight, paired with John-Michael Liles.

The full contents of the news release can be found here.



FAULK A GAME-TIME DECISION & MORE FROM PETERS
11:45 a.m.

Justin Faulk will be a game-time decision tonight, according to head coach Bill Peters. Faulk did not participate in the team's morning skate but did put in some on-ice work prior.

"I think he's going to be able to play, but we'll see," an optimistic Peters said.

If Faulk isn't able to go, Michal Jordan will draw into the lineup. Brett Pesce, who has missed the team's last three games with a lower-body injury, is also expected to return.

"It will be noticeable on the power play if he (Faulk) doesn't play. There will be some young guys in there," Peters said. "Good timing for Pesce coming off IR and getting back in with a couple good practices."

Here's more from Peters' gameday morning media scrum.

On the Cup celebration weekend: "I think it's an exciting time for the organization and seeing some of those faces. ... I think it's great for the guys. I know they're looking forward to the ceremony tomorrow, but importantly, we've got two good games to play."

On preparing for two key divisional games this weekend: "We've had a good week of practice and enough time to get rested and prepared. We know the importance of the games. If you're ever going to reel in a team that's ahead of you and you play them head-to-head ... that's how you reel teams in ahead of you. Our guys understand that."

On the team's mood heading into this weekend: "Perfect. Real good. ... We played better as we went on the road. When you come off that break, you don't know what you're going to get exactly, but we've gotten better as we've stayed together. A good practice yesterday should lead into a good game, a fun game and an exciting game to play tonight."




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

Here's how the Hurricanes lined up this morning in preparation for their tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Rask-Di Giuseppe
Gerbe-McClement-Terry

Slavin-Hainsey
Liles-Pesce
Hanifin-Jordan

Ward
Lack

Up front, Riley Nash and Brad Malone look to be the healthy extras.

Justin Faulk did not participate in the morning skate, though it should be noted that he skated prior.

We'll have more from the room, hopefully including a further Faulk update, in just a bit.



CANES RETURN HOME TO HOST PENS
6:00 a.m.

As far as the playoff push goes for the Carolina Hurricanes, this weekend’s set of back-to-back contests against Metropolitan Division opponents, both of whom the team is chasing in the standings, is critical.

PENGUINS vs. HURRICANES
Penguins vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 7 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
10 YEARS LATER, HURRICANES REFLECT ON CUP
FAULK LEAVES PRACTICE
FAMILY REUNION
VIDEOS
RAW: BILL PETERS, FEB. 11
RINK REPORT: FEB. 9
GAMEDAY LINKS
BUY TICKETS
GIVEAWAY: BRIND'AMOUR COMMEMORATIVE POSTER
STANLEY CUP CELEBRATION
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
The pair of games, both at home, begins with tonight’s match-up with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who the Hurricanes trail by four points for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We’ve got a big week in front of us. It’s exciting,” head coach Bill Peters said Tuesday. “We’re going to play two good teams with lots of valuable points on the line.”

The Hurricanes returned from the All-Star break and immediately hit the road for a three game tour of Canada, on which they assembled a 1-1-1 record and earned three of a possible six points. At 24-21-9, they find themselves in the thick of the playoff race with nearly half of the conference.

“I’m not doing the math, but I just know that it’s a good division,” Peters said. “Teams win every night so if you’re not winning, you’re not keeping up. That much I do know. When you get the opportunity to play, you need to get points. Points are valuable, and head-to-head is the most important thing.”

Following a four-day gap between games, the Hurricanes will now play 10 time over the next 17 days, including eight games at home.

“We’re rested up. We’re good,” Peters said after Thursday’s practice. “A lot of playoff series are every other day, and that’s kind of the rhythm you like. We’ll get ourselves into a good rhythm here coming into this stretch and take advantage of our schedule being at home.”

The status of All-Star defenseman Justin Faulk is currently up in the air. Faulk left Thursday’s practice at Raleigh Center Ice after a hard collision along the near boards. Peters did not have an update on the Canes’ point leader after the skate.

While Faulk remains a question mark, Brett Pesce seems about ready to return from a lower-body injury that has kept him sporadically out of the lineup and most recently landed him on injured reserve. He’s practiced twice with the team this week.

“He needed time. It’s a significant lower-body injury that needed time to heel,” Peters said after Tuesday’s practice. “The rest looks like it’s been beneficial. We’ll see how it reacts tomorrow. These things can blow up a little bit on you the next day, but hopefully the swelling and everything is gone, and he’ll be fine.”

The Penguins were shut out, 3-0, by the New York Rangers on Wednesday, but they are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, a streak that has helped them into a wild card spot at 27-19-7 (61 points). Tonight marks the fourth of five meetings between the Hurricanes and Penguins this season; so far, the Canes have posted a 2-1-0 record in the season series.

CANESPR NOTES: Jeff Skinner has points (2g, 4a) in each of his last five games. … Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Hurricanes have posted a 21-15-5 record against Pittsburgh. … Elias Lindholm is a point-per-game player against the Penguins with 10 points (3g, 7a) in as many career games.



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

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