DALLAS - It feels good to be back in the States.
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information you need to know for tonight's State Fair road trip finale featuring the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars. Make Hurricanes.com a regular stop throughout the day, as we update this hub with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.
Friday was a travel day for the Hurricanes, and they'll be on the ice at American Airlines Center for their morning skate at 11:30 a.m. As always, we'll be there to bring you the latest.
Last updated: 6:15 p.m.
BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
TV's Mike Maniscalco, who I'll be joining on the pregame show tonight (6:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports Carolinas), presents tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.
1. Strong Defense
Repeat the defensive performance from Calgary. The Hurricanes held the Flames in check by taking away time and space and limiting chances. The Canes will need to do that again tonight against a talented Stars attack.
2. Good Start
Get off to a good start. This is the Canes third game in five nights and the final game of a nine-day road trip, so playing with a lead early will be crucial for the Canes.
3. Penalty Free
Stay out of the penalty box. The Stars have the third best power play in the NHL, so giving Dallas the man advantage is something the Canes can do without. The good news is the Hurricanes are the least penalized team in the league.
IN THE ROOM: BILL PETERS
Head coach Bill Peters stepped off the ice after the morning skate and spoke to us in the bowels of American Airlines Center. Here are the highlights.
On closing out the four-game road trip: "We have an opportunity to close out a four-game trip in style. We've got to play similar to how we did in Calgary. We've got to make sure we play fast, and we have to make sure we have an answer for the Seguin line. They're a real good line right now, and they're doing a lot of damage offensively."
On what he liked from his team in Calgary: "We were much tighter. We had all four lines going, and we got good contributions from everywhere. … At the end we dug in when we needed to."
On the importance of starting strong: "If you can start on time, get a lead, try to grow that lead and put your foot on the gas, it's a lot easier to play that way."
On his team's discipline: "Credit to the guys for working hard and keeping their sticks down. We know what the standards are for slashing, so there's no excuse. You've got to move your feet, check and be committed to doing it right."
On the Skinner-Ryan-McGinn line: "There's a little bit of everything there. Skinny is as hot as anybody in the last little while offensively. Him and Kucherov are probably the two hottest guys in the league as far as scoring goals over the finish from last year to the start of this year. Skinny provides that ability for them. Doc is a reliable two-way guy, and Ginner's got that physicality to him. He's at the net for that line and does a lot of heavy lifting. They complement each other real well."
On making a decision on Martin Necas: "It's a good opportunity to talk about all different kinds of things I've got written down, so we'll have those conversations tonight on the plane."
CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
Coming off a 2-1 win in Calgary, the Hurricanes won't change their lineup heading into tonight's contest in Dallas.
More coming from inside the room after the skate.
CANES WRAP UP WEEKLONG ROAD TRIP IN DALLAS
When the Carolina Hurricanes conclude their weeklong, four-game road trip in Dallas on Saturday night, it's a chance for the team to improve upon one of its best starts in Hurricanes history.
With a 2-1 win in Calgary on Thursday, the Canes matched their best five-game start in team history, set in 2007-08 and 2008-09 (3-1-1, 7 points).
The Canes were edged by the Winnipeg Jets in the first game of this road trip, but they followed that up with their first road sweep in Alberta since November 1997.
The 5-3 win in Edmonton on Tuesday night was a little scattered. The 2-1 win in Calgary two nights later embodied much more of the identity head coach Bill Peters expects of his club.
"A lot of things that we can build on from this game tonight," Peters said after the game. "We were a little bit loose in Edmonton, so we tightened up and did a better job."
Jeff Skinner's team-leading third goal of the season gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead in Calgary. They took that into the third period and, on their fifth power-play opportunity of the game, stretched the lead to two goals via Justin Williams' first goal since re-joining the team.
"We're trying to get better every game. We're a team that's trying to make that next step," Williams said. "I thought we played well enough to win tonight and the scoreboard showed that."
"There was a good rhythm and flow to the game," Skinner said. "Especially on the road when you go into the third period with a one-goal lead you want to try to close teams out and find a way to win those."
Soctt Darling turned in a solid performance in Calgary, and he figures to make his fifth start of the season tonight in Dallas. Darling made 25 saves on Thursday, none better than his glove save on Jaromir Jagr's rebound bid in the third period.
"Our work ethic is second-to-none. Our guys don't stop skating, forechecking or backchecking. We don't give them much," Darling said. "For the most part, we were breaking up plays. Our guys were clogging up the neutral zone, picking off passes, doing everything right. I'm still just amazed by how hard our team skates. It's amazing."
After starting the season 1-3-0, the Stars have since won three straight, beating Colorado once and Arizona twice by a combined score of 11-6.
CANESPR NOTES: Victor Rask has posted seven points (2g, 5a) in six career games against the Stars. … The Canes' 6.24 average penalty minutes per game is lowest in the league. The team has paced the league in fewest penalty minutes per game in three of the last four seasons.
CLICKS AND CLIPPINGS