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Gameday: Stars vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

No gameday hub today …

… April Fools.

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's cross-conference tilt between the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, videos, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

The Hurricanes will open the month of April on the ice with a 10:30 a.m. morning skate, and we'll be posted up there to bring you the latest.

Last updated: 2:45 p.m.

2:45 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco puts tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory on the table.

Video: Tools to Victory: DAL vs. CAR

12:15 p.m.

Hear from forwards Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask, who spoke with Mike Maniscalco following today's morning skate.

Video: Jeff Skinner: "Want to play meaningful games"

Video: Victor Rask: "Following our system"

11:50 a.m.

Head coach Bill Peters spoke with the media after his team's brief morning skate at PNC Arena.

On the road ahead: "We've just got to worry about tonight. We've got to find a way to get off to a better start. Our last two games at home we haven't exactly gotten off to great starts, so that's our focus: the first 10 minutes."

On tonight's opponent: "A lot of skill. There are guys who can hurt you. They can hurt you off the rush in-zone. They're strong and heavy down low, and you've got Jamie Benn rolling around underneath the hash marks. They're a good faceoff team. … They handled us quite easily in our last head-to-head match-up, so we've got to find a way to be better."

On Eddie Lack, who participated in the morning skate: "When I left the ice, he was good. I'll talk to him again later this morning, but I think he'll be good to back up and then be an option moving forward."

On controlling what can be controlled: "Just go out and win. Just go win the game that you're playing. That's all we can do. We don't worry about anything else."

Video: Bill Peters: "Play hard and see what happens"

10:45 a.m.

No changes to forward lines or defensive pairs in what was another quick morning skate for the Hurricanes. Eddie Lack was on the ice and participating in the skate, which is great news considering what happened earlier this week. Alex Nedeljkovic will likely be returned to Florida today.

McGinn-Wallmark-Di Giuseppe



6:00 a.m.

March was an incredibly successful month for the Carolina Hurricanes, squarely setting them up in the race for a playoff spot down the stretch of the season.

Now, the Canes look to keep rolling as the calendar turns to April.

Playing a game every 1.76 days in the month of March, the Hurricanes posted a 10-2-5 record, good for 25 points and the second most productive month in franchise history behind only January 2006. Earning points in 15 of 17 games, the Canes strung together a franchise-best 13-game point streak (9-0-4) leading into the final nine days of the regular season.

"I like the growth individually in players and the growth in the maturity of our group, the willingness to do it right and the understanding that sometimes winning hurts," head coach Bill Peters said. "You learn how to win and you learn what it takes to win. That's what it's all about this time of year."

The Hurricanes gutted out a 2-1 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, their second victory in a row and fifth in their last six games.

"It took us awhile, but it was a good job by the guys sticking with it. You sort of had a feeling it was going to be an ugly one. We got a bit of fortunate bounce on that goal, but I think when we're working hard we had some pretty good looks," said Jeff Skinner, who scored the game-tying goal with 4:20 left in regulation. "Sometimes you get a good bounce when you're working hard and doing things right."

Noah Hanifin pumped in the game-winning tally in overtime, an emotional two points for a resilient, confident Hurricanes squad.

"We absolutely have a shot here to do this, and I think we have a lot of confidence as a group right now," Hanifin said. "We just beat one of the best teams in the league, so there's no reason we can't finish out really strong."

In their first game of April, the Hurricanes draw the Dallas Stars, who are on the tail end of a five-game road swing that concludes in Tampa Bay on Sunday evening. The Stars, 1-2-0 on the trip thus far, have been eliminated from playoff contention.

April remains just as busy as March was; the Hurricanes play at least every other day and still have two back-to-back sets remaining. Saturday's game against Dallas is the front half of the first set that finishes in Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Canes end the regular season next weekend at home against St. Louis on Saturday and then on the road in Philadelphia the next night.

After that? It all depends on if the Hurricanes can remain as hot as they were in March in these final six games.

CANESPR NOTES: Peters tallied his 100th NHL head coaching win on Thursday vs. Columbus. In his nearly three full seasons with the team, Peters is 100-99-41 as the bench boss. … Lee Stempniak is a goal shy of 200 in his NHL career.




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