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Gameday: Hurricanes at Capitals

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

WASHINGTON - Last stop for the dads: DC!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to this evening's Metropolitan Division tilt between the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals 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.

After a day off on Sunday, the Hurricanes will be back on the ice for their morning skate at 11:30 a.m. today. Check back here for more updates then.

Last updated: 6:50 p.m.

6:50 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco brings us tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three TOols to Victory.

1. Make the Caps Defend

Washington's forwards want to play offense, and the best way to frustrate them is to get the puck deep in their end and make them go 200 feet with the puck. Better yet, make their forwards get below the faceoff dots of their own end to defend.

2. PK to the Rescue

The Canes have the best PK in the league, and it will need to stay that way tonight.

3. Snap the Puck

The Hurricanes have to move the puck tape-to-tape with speed. Lazy passes get picked off by the Caps. No matter the direction, get the puck there quickly and accurately, especially on the power play.

3:20 p.m.

A look inside Verizon Center at the Hurricanes' morning skate.

1:15 p.m.

While he was finishing his post-skate workout on the stationary bike, head coach Bill Peters spoke with us to help set the table for tonight's Metropolitan Division showdown.

On stopping the slide: "We've got to put the brakes on it, for sure. It's not only dropping three but no points out of six. You do that, and you let people gain ground behind you and let the people in front of you create separation."

On Ty Rattie remaining in the lineup: "I thought he was good. He made a real good play on the Faulk goal. He deserves to stay in."

On Jay McClement coming out: "It was a tough decision. ... Lindy will take that spot [on the PK]. That allows Jordo and Nordy to stay together and Ginner and Doc in the three pair. Lindy's got an opportunity to come in with Berger and take those faceoffs. The only thing different there is he's a right-handed guy instead of a lefty. He's been on our PK all year, so he's well-versed in what we do."

On tonight's game, a chance for the Hurricanes to improve their 1-0-1 record vs. the Caps this season: "They start real well. They have a great goal differential in the first period, so we've got to make sure we start on time. It can't be a track meet. It can't be a rush game where it's just up and down for 60 minutes. We've got to make sure we spend some time in the offensive zone where we grind, cycle and play heavy."

12:55 p.m.

After the Canes dads toured the Pentagon this morning, they had time to head over to Verizon Center for the team's morning skate.

Tweet from @NHLCanes: The #CanesDads toured the #Pentagon this morning before joining their sons on the ice after the #Canes morning skate. #CARvsWSH

Here's the lineup you can expect to see from the Hurricanes tonight.




Ty Rattie will remain in the lineup, while Jay McClement comes out. Both Noah Hanifin and Matt Tennyson return to the blue line after serving as healthy scratches in Columbus.

6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes make their first of two appearances in Washington this season as they square off with the Caps in their fifth consecutive game against a Metropolitan Division foe.

After winning four straight at home during the second week of January, the Hurricanes have now dropped three in a row to top-tier divisional opponents Columbus (twice) and Pittsburgh.

Even still, the Canes remain three points out of a wild card spot, but they know they need to stop the slide in short order.

"Huge," said Justin Faulk, who tallied one of the Canes' two goals on Saturday night. "We need to bring our game and make it tough on them. That's what we're good at. It's a good chance for us to show that we're a confident group and have enough confidence to put an end to it."

It doesn't get any easier for the Hurricanes, who now draw the league's top team. The Caps are riding a 13-game point streak, which dates back to Dec. 29 and features 11 wins. With just nine regulation losses in 46 games, the last team remaining in the NHL with single-digit defeats, the Caps sit atop the league standings with 68 points (31-9-6).

"It's definitely a big game," Jordan Staal said on Saturday. "We're going to need some points and get off this string."

The Canes are responsible for one of the Caps' nine regulation losses this season; Carolina bested the Caps 5-1 in Raleigh on Nov. 12, which kick-started a seven-game winning streak at home. Washington then snapped that streak with a 4-3 shootout victory on Dec. 16, but the Canes continued to earn points in 11 straight home games.

After being trounced 7-1 by Pittsburgh at home on Friday, the Hurricanes fought back to erase a 2-0 deficit in the second period in Columbus but fell 3-2 after Scott Hartnell's second goal of the game lifted the Blue Jackets in the third period.

"It was a better hockey game by us, no question. I thought we did a lot of good things," Staal said. "If we continue to play like that against good teams, we're going to find a way to get points."

"It was a pretty good effort. We had no effort last night, nothing really, right? Maybe 10 minutes worth. It's a young group. You never know how guys are going to bounce back after a night like that," Faulk said. "We've just got to find a way to get out of this."

The Hurricanes made wholesale lineup changes on Saturday, inserting Ty Rattie, Klas Dahlbeck and Ryan Murphy for Teuvo Teravainen, Noah Hanifin and Matt Tennyson. Rattie tallied an assist on Faulk's game-tying goal in the second period. Head coach Bill Peters didn't comment on any lineup-related matters after the game.

CANESPR NOTES: Since the 2005-06 season, the Canes are 30-2-5 against the Capitals when scoring three or more goals. … Aho tallied his first career power-play goal in Saturday's second period. He's got 25 points on the season, which ranks third on the team and seventh among all league rookies. His 12 goals rank third among all rookies.




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