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Preview: Hurricanes at Canucks

Canes end road trip in Vancouver before All-Star break

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

VANCOUVER - The Carolina Hurricanes close out a three-game road trip in Vancouver with a match-up against the Canucks in the second half of a back-to-back set.

This game, the Canes' last before the All-Star break, comes on the heels of a hard-fought 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

Bouncing Back

For the second time in less than two weeks, the Hurricanes came out on the wrong side of a game in which they were the better team against one of the top teams in the league.

The Hurricanes at least departed Calgary with a point after Sebastian Aho forced overtime when he scored the game-tying goal with just 43.4 seconds left in regulation. The Flames ended it just 15 seconds into 3-on-3 overtime.

"t was a great battle by us. That was a grind. That's a great team. We've got to believe that so are we," Aho said. "I feel like we had more chances than they did, but they scored one goal more than us, and that's how you win hockey games."

"I don't know that we had a lull in that game at all. We were, from start to finish, I thought the better team," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "At the end of the day, it's about wins and losses, and we didn't get the win. We've taken some big steps this year, in my opinion, and now we've just got to get a little better to get over the hump."

PROJECTED LINEUP

After dropping an emotional 3-1 decision in Tampa on Jan. 10, the Canes bounced back in the second half of a back-to-back to score a 4-3 win over Buffalo at home.

Can they dig deep again to reset and reload?

"The positive is you came in here against one of the best teams, and in my opinion, we could have had that game. I think anyone would say it was a pretty good effort," Brind'Amour said. "The hard part is going to be picking the guys up, and then you have to go play a team that's been sitting there in the same boat like us, scrapping to try to make the playoffs. It's not going to be easy, but we'll see. Our group has been pretty resilient all year."

Ferland A Question Mark

Micheal Ferland left Tuesday's game in the second period with an upper-body injury, and he did not return.

Brind'Amour said after the game that Ferland had tweaked something in his upper body, which caused him to miss Sunday's game in Edmonton, as well. His status for tonight in Vancouver remains a question mark. Defenseman Haydn Fleury is the lone additional healthy body.

The Last Meeting

In the first week of the season, the Hurricanes bested the Canucks, 5-3, at home to improve to 3-0-1. Sebastian Aho recorded a two-point night to extend his season-opening point streak, and Andrei Svechnikov's second of the season, scored early in the second period, stood as the game-winning goal.

The Opposition

The Canucks bring a five-game point streak (3-0-2) into tonight's pre-All-Star finale. At 23-21-6 with 52 points, Vancouver is barely on the outside looking in on the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Rookie Elias Pettersson returned Sunday after missing five games due to injury and had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win against Detroit. Pettersson leads the team and all NHL rookies in scoring with 44 points (23g, 21a).


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Refocus

Though the Canes fought back to get a point last night in Calgary, it was still a tough 3-2 overtime loss. The team needs to reset and refocus its efforts on tonight.

2. Rally Together

Alex Nedeljkovic is making his first career start in net, and the Canes are dressing 11 forwards and seven defensemen with Micheal Ferland sidelined. Everyone will need to rally together in order to play a full 60 minutes against a hot Vancouver team tonight.

3. Empty the Tank

The Hurricanes don't play again until Friday, Feb. 1, an eight day gap in between games. Empty the tank and leave it all on the ice tonight.


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