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Gameday: Hurricanes at Sabres

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Live from (the state of) New York, it's Saturday night!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information you need to know for tonight's match-up between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres. Make Hurricanes.com a regular stop throughout the day, as we update this hub with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

The Hurricanes will be on the ice at KeyBank Center at 11:30 a.m. for their morning skate, where we'll be rinkside to bring you the latest.

Last updated: 5:05 p.m.


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
5:05 p.m.

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

1. Special Teams

The Hurricanes can point to losing the special teams battle in Brooklyn for a main reason why they fell short. The Sabres are still trying to figure things out under new head coach Phil Housley, but what they do have is several dangerous offensive players that can produce on the power play. Win the special teams battle and odds are the Canes win the game.

2. No E's

Do not let Evander Kane and Jack Eichel get time and space. The Sabres are a capable offensive team, so making those two players work in their defensive end is the best way to keep them off the scoreboard and lead to excellent scoring chances for the Canes.

3. Bring the Lunch Pail

Work hard and skate hard for a full 60 minutes.


AHO PLAYING WITH NEWFOUND CONFIDENCE HEADING INTO 100th GAME
2:40 p.m.

In the underbelly of KeyBank Center, a lowered basketball hoop sat no more than two feet off the ground near where Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen were kicking around a soccer ball. So, they made a new game out of it - kick it into the hoop.

Easy enough for Aho, who is playing with a newfound swagger after scoring two goals in his last two games to hatch the goose egg that incubated in his goals column for the first 15 games of the season.

"You always get a boost for your confidence when you score your first one," Aho said. "I just try to play the same way."

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IN THE ROOM: BILL PETERS
1:35 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters wasn't on the ice for the Canes' optional skate this morning, so he poked his head out of the coaches' office to speak with us at KeyBank Center.

On tonight's game and managing energy in the first half of a back-to-back: "We're just worried about tonight. We need to bounce back a little bit. We weren't exactly enthralled with the way we played in New York. We've got to bounce back, worry about tonight and go from there."

On the lineup: "Juice is a little sore, so he's going to sit one out. We'll put Phil in on that line, and I need to make sure I get Phil some minutes because I think he can really help us with his tenacity and speed. He's got the ability to be physical when he gets in on the O-zone forecheck, also."

On depth and Jooris being out: "We need to use our depth properly. This is one of the those injuries, too, that I think if we don't get ahead of it or at least evened up with it that it's going to linger, and I don't want it to linger."

On tonight's opponent: "They'll be good here at home. They play hard at home. They have a lot of skill. You've got to play properly. It's all about us getting to our game and getting to our game early."


KRUGER IN, JOORIS OUT
1:10 p.m.

The Hurricanes held an optional morning skate at KeyBank Center today. Marcus Kruger, who missed Thursday's game in Brooklyn with an illness, will draw back into the lineup tonight. Josh Jooris is nursing a lower-body concern and will sit this one out, which means Phil Di Giuseppe will remain in the lineup. Scott Darling will get the start in net.

Aho-Staal-Teravainen
McGinn-Ryan-Williams
Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
Nordstrom-Kruger-Di Giuseppe

Slavin-Pesce
Fleury-Faulk
Hanifin-van Riemsdyk

Darling
Ward

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: Optional skate for the #Canes this morning in Buffalo. #CARvsBUF pic.twitter.com/NWEvnA7E3s


CANES HEAD TO BUFFALO
12:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes wrap up a two-game trip through the state of New York when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

The Canes will be looking to rebound from a 6-4 defeat at the hands of the New York Islanders on Thursday. In that contest, the Canes' third divisional match-up of the season, the team fell down 3-1 in the first period, scored three straight in the second to take a lead and then surrendered three straight in the third, which ended their five-game point streak (3-0-2).

"We didn't skate early, and we dug ourselves a hole," head coach Bill Peters said after a Friday practice in Buffalo. "Once we got moving and played a little faster, we were having some success. We ended up chasing the game for too long."

Tonight, the Hurricanes face off against a Buffalo Sabres team that is winless in its last four games (0-2-2). The Sabres dropped a 3-1 decision in Detroit on Friday night, falling to 5-10-4 (14 points) and ranking last in the Eastern Conference.

"It's a dangerous group, especially with the Eichel line," Peters said of the Sabres.

After not scoring a power-play goal in five games, the Hurricanes have now netted goals on the man advantage in two straight games. A constant in those two goals has been net-front presence. Elias Lindholm scored a power-play goal in Brooklyn, redirecting a Sebastian Aho shot in the slot, and he also provided the key screen on Teuvo Teravainen's first goal of the game against Dallas.

"You see guys at the net now. We're at the net," Peters said. "Deflection goal by Lindholm, and a big-time screen on the one against Dallas. We're doing a better job of being at the net, getting some shots and not turning down an opportunity to shoot the puck."

Marcus Kruger missed Thursday's game in New York with an illness. He joined the team in Buffalo and practiced on Friday, centering Joakim Nordstrom and Phil Di Giuseppe on the fourth line.

"He's better," Peters said. "He got in last night and practiced today. Hopefully it's trending in the right direction."

Josh Jooris did not practice on Friday, a maintenance day for the forward.

"He's been sore and playing hard here recently," Peters said. "We'll make a decision tomorrow once we get through our skate."

CANESPR NOTES: Sebastian Aho is expected to skate in his 100th NHL game tonight. … The Canes have earned at least a point in 11 of their last 15 games against the Sabres (9-4-2). 


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