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Preview: Panthers vs. Hurricanes

Canes return home from historic road trip

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

After garnering nine of a possible 10 points on a five-game road trip, the Carolina Hurricanes briefly return home to host the Florida Panthers.

Saturday's match-up marks just the Canes' third home game of December and first in two weeks.

Homecoming

With a dramatic 3-1 win in Colorado on Thursday night, the Hurricanes captured nine points on a five-game road trip for the first time in franchise history.

Sebastian Aho paced the Canes during that five-game stretch with seven points (5g, 2a). Dougie Hamilton recorded six points (2g, 4a), while Teuvo Teravainen polished off a six-pack of assists.

"All in all, a pretty great trip," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after Thursday's victory.

The Hurricanes are now 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and 12-6-2 on the road this season.

"We're building something: The way to play and understand how we have to play as a team to be successful," Brind'Amour said. "That's important."

Haula Back?

Erik Haula has missed the Hurricanes' last 15 games with tendonitis in his surgically repaired knee, but he joined the team mid-road trip in Calgary and has been skating in practice since Monday.

PROJECTED LINEUP

The Canes reassigned forward Brian Gibbons to Charlotte on Friday morning, potentially signaling Haula's return - barring another recall or opting to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen, of course.

"We're day-to-day on that," Brind'Amour said about Haula's status earlier in the week. "Hopefully just keep improving his health and conditioning."

The Last Meeting

The Hurricanes and Panthers last met on Nov. 23 at PNC Arena. After Florida scored two early goals, the Canes answered back with four unanswered en route to a 4-2 win.

Dougie Hamilton scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and added an assist on the night, while Teuvo Teravainen recorded a trio of assists.

"Kudos to us for sticking with it. We didn't get down on ourselves," said Brett Pesce, who scored the Canes' first goal of the game. "We did a good job sticking to our game plan."

Video: Hamilton, Svechnikov lead Hurricanes to 4-2 victory

The Opposition

The Panthers wrapped up a massive nine-game homestand on Friday night with a 7-4 walloping of the Dallas Stars. Noel Acciari recorded his second consecutive hat trick to help Florida finish 5-4-0 during their longest homestand in franchise history. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in scoring with 45 points (12g, 33a) in 34 games.


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