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Gameday: Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Hurricanes Homegrown Series returns!

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

The Hurricanes will not skate this morning in the second half of a back-to-back set. We'll be chatting with head coach Bill Peters in the evening and passing along other tidbits throughout the day.

Last updated: 6:40 p.m.


CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
6:40 p.m.

It's the same lineup for the Hurricanes tonight, minus the switch in netminder, and the lines are familiar.

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

Slavin-Pesce
Fleury-Faulk
Hanifin-van Riemsdyk

Darling
Ward

Puck drop is 30 minutes away in Raleigh!


LINEUP NOTES AND PETERS QUOTES
5:15 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters said earlier this week he would likely get fresh bodies in on the second half of a back-to-back. But after last night's 3-1 win in Columbus, what would you change? So, Peters is sticking with the group of 18 skaters that brought two points home, and, as expected, Scott Darling is getting the start in net against his former team.

Here's more of what the head coach had to say this evening.

On Friday night's win: "We haven't played a lot in the Metropolitan Division, so to get a road win is huge. We want to build on the little bit of momentum we have. We have to come back and play a very similar style of game here tonight."

On tonight's lineup: "I talked earlier in the week about putting in some fresh bodies when they were available, but the guys played hard, dug in and found ways to contribute, so I can't change the lineup. Back-to-back with travel, the right thing to do is to play both goaltenders, so we set it up in my mind the right way. Wardo was outstanding."

On a number of Canes facing their former team: "They haven't talked about it a whole bunch. We had to stay focused on the task at hand yesterday, and then we didn't bring them in to skate today so I haven't seen the guys yet. ... They'll be excited about the opportunity to play and play in front of our fans."

On Jordan Staal's impact: "He does a lot of the heavy lifting. Tonight, he'll see a lot of the Toews line. Toews is a hard guy to play against. He's big and strong. We've got a guy who can go match that. ... He's a guy who factors in, plays on the power play, penalty kill, 4-on-4, 3-on-3, we use him everywhere. He's a big piece of what we do."


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
3:55 p.m.

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

Video: Tools to Victory: CHI vs CAR


CANES HOST HAWKS, GO FOR THREE STRAIGHT WINS
2:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes have scored consecutive 3-1 victories over Eastern Conference opponents, and when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, they have an opportunity to assemble a three-game winning streak for the first time this season.

In the front half of their second back-to-back set of the season, the Canes defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. The team was led by Jordan Staal's first multi-goal effort as a member of the Hurricanes and Cam Ward's 25-save performance.

"I thought we were resilient," head coach Bill Peters said. "I thought we didn't give up much and when we did, we gave up a couple of humdingers. Wardo was big."

"We played with speed tonight. We were skating and moving the puck better. Our execution has been slowly improving. It's been a continued process," Staal said. "We weren't up for too long, but for the time we were, I thought we did a great job of shutting it down."

Now, the Canes return home to host a 7-7-2 Blackhawks team that, after winning the first two games of the month in shootout fashion, has dropped two in a row.

"We've got to win a game tomorrow. We've got to get home and get some rest and then play against a real talented group," Peters said. "We'll have to manage the puck properly and make sure their skill guys don't get left alone with our goalie."

Adding intrigue to this match is the number of former Blackhawks currently in the Hurricanes' dressing room. This will be the first time Marcus Kruger, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Scott Darling (the unconfirmed but expected starter) face their former team. Teuvo Teravainen and Joakim Nordstrom also last played for the Hawks.

"I know we've got a lot of guys who played for the Blackhawks, so we're anxious to get back home and put up a good performance tomorrow," Ward said.

In addition to being the latter half of the team's second of 18 back-to-back sets this season, tonight's game also marks the beginning of a stretch that will see the Canes play six of their next eight games at home.

"We've always prided ourselves on being hard to play against, and I think we've been doing that as of late," Staal said. "To not give up much, check for our chances and wait for opportunities to bury them, and we're playing the right way the whole time. That's what we've been doing as of late."

"You need to be able to play in tight games. We play a lot of tight games. That's just the way it is right now," Peters said. "We're not getting much offensively, and we're going to continue to work on that. I think it is going to come. Be prepared to win a 2-1 game or a 3-2 game. Play that way from the drop of the puck."


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