CHICAGO - Last night was fun. Let's do that again.
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.
The Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate today, but we'll pass along lineup updates and more as we have them.
Last updated: 8:05 p.m.
CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
Cam Ward led the team out onto the ice for warm-ups, so he is set to make his 15th consecutive start. Things remain the same elsewhere, too, as the Hurricanes roll with the same lineup that snagged them the win last night in St. Louis.
BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
Mike Maniscalco brings you tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.
1. Last Week Tonight
The Hurricanes need to do exactly what they did a week ago in Raleigh, which was take the game right to the Blackhawks. The Canes fell down early, but controlled the play for 60 minutes. They answered Chicago with two goals quickly to take the lead and looked to build on it.
2. Power It Up
Keep the puck moving on the man advantage. Jeff Skinner's power-play goal last night against St. Louis is a prime example of moving the puck with the man advantage. The Canes will need the power play to kick in a score tonight.
3. Don't Get Caught Deep
The Blackhawks will try to hem in the Canes behind their goalie tonight. The first pass by the defenseman has to get the puck headed out of the zone.
CANES GO FOR TWO STRAIGHT VS. CENTRAL DIVISION
A night after downing the Blues 4-2 in St. Louis, the Carolina Hurricanes are in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks in the second half of a back-to-back set against Central Division opponents.
Jeff Skinner's power-play goal in the third period helped lift the Hurricanes to victory on Thursday night in St. Louis. Derek Ryan tallied twice to break a nine-game goalless drought as the Canes notched their first victory in the new year.
"We wanted to make sure we started off this two-game road trip on the right foot, and that's what we did," Ryan said. "Start it off with a nice win, get some confidence and the boys rolling. Hopefully that continues in Chicago."
"I liked us in a lot of areas," head coach Bill Peters said. "I liked our specialty teams. It was a good effort throughout. Everyone found a way to contribute, all four lines and all six D."
Now, the Hurricanes face the top team in the Western Conference for the second time in exactly a week. In Raleigh on Dec. 30, the Canes stretched their home points streak to 11 games (10-0-1) with a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks. Jay McClement's tally that stretched the Canes' lead to two goals in the third period proved to be the game-winner.
The Blackhawks were also in action on Thursday night, as they hosted the Buffalo Sabres. Down 3-2 late in the third period, Artem Anisimov's 18th goal of the season tied the game with just 2:04 to play in regulation. Patrick Kane then netted the game-winner in overtime for Chicago.
With 53 points (24-12-5), the Blackhawks sit atop the Western Conference. They've compiled a 14-4-4 record at United Center this season.
"We've got another one tomorrow, so we want to try to come out against another good team and build on the good things," Skinner said after the Canes' win on Thursday. "We want to try to kick start something here with this win."
"There's a certain standard that we hold ourselves accountable to, a way we want to play and an identity we want to carve out," Peters said. "Tonight was more our identity for sure."
Cam Ward faced just 23 shots in St. Louis on Thursday night, so he could conceivably man the crease again tonight in Chicago, which would mark his 15th consecutive start. Ward is 4-1-2 with a 1.76 goals-against average and two shutouts in seven career appearances against the Blackhawks.
Justin Faulk made his return to the lineup in St. Louis after missing four games with a lower-body injury. He logged 21:40 of ice time, a team-high eight shot attempts and one hit.
CANESPR NOTES: The Canes have earned at least a point in six of the last nine games played in Chicago (5-3-1). … Jordan Staal earned his 100th Hurricanes assist with the secondary helper on Ryan's first-period goal in St. Louis. Staal added another helper with the primary assist on Ryan's empty-net goal late in the game.
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