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Gameday: Wild vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Seeing No. 12 in a different sweater? That's Wild.

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's tilt between the Minnesota Wild 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 return to the ice at PNC Arena at 10:30 a.m. for their morning skate, and we'll be rinkside to bring you the latest.

Last updated: 7:00 p.m.


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
7:00 p.m.

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

Video: Tools to Victory: MIN vs. CAR


IN THE ROOM
4:20 p.m.

Today, Cam Ward, Justin Faulk and Lucas Wallmark spoke after the team's morning skate, and yesterday, Eric Staal discussed his return to Raleigh after the Wild practiced at PNC Arena.

Video: Cam Ward: "One of the best"

Video: Justin Faulk: "Helped me find my game"

Video: Lucas Wallmark: "I feel better out there"

Video: Eric Staal talks about facing the Hurricanes


PREGAME: PETERS
12:50 p.m.

Head coach Bill Peters confirmed that Brock McGinn is likely to return to the lineup tonight after missing the team's last eight games with an upper-body injury. And in net, Eddie Lack gets the start.

Here's more from the Canes' bench boss.

On the return of Eric Staal: "This will be fun for him here tonight again. That's not going to grow old or change every time he comes into this building for the rest of his career. It will be good. They've got a good team. He's playing well, and they're playing well right now. Points in four straight. It's going to be fun and fast."

On if Jordan will face his brother: "Yeah, probably a little bit. They're deep. We've got a plan. We've got to make sure we get a good read on Wallmark, so we've got to run our bench accordingly. They'll play head-to-head a little bit for sure, I guarantee it."

On what makes Jordan and Eric so effective on the ice: "They're similar players. They start with the puck a lot. They're 6-4 and good on draws. Having the puck is important." "That's where it starts with both Eric and Jordan. From there, they can lean on you, make it hard on you, beat you off the rush a little bit and get heavy down low. They're hard to play against."

On Eric approaching 1,000 career games: "That's a great accomplishment for any player, and he should be proud of that accomplishment when he hits it. I believe he hits it in Winnipeg, and that's not far from Thunder Bay, so he'll be playing for free that day, I'm sure. Tickets are hard to come by in Winnipeg, but whatever's available he'll have to buy up. That's a big number. You look at those 1,000 games, there's quality and quantity. He's done a lot in the game, and it talks to how good the player is, his ability to stay healthy and the perseverance. It's a great career with no end in sight, really. He's still young."

On tonight's game: "There are a lot of good match-ups in this game. You've got the Finnish connection going, the Staals, the D match-up [with Slavin and Suter]. I think it's going to be a fun game. I think they play the game the right way. They play on their toes, and they forecheck with all five pieces. We're going to have to skate and manage the puck. The decisions we make with the puck are going to be important here tonight."

On Jay McClement, who suffered a lower-body injury on Tuesday: "He had an MRI yesterday. He's going to be awhile. He's going to be a couple weeks probably. We'll put it at two weeks now and go from there."

On Phil Di Giuseppe and Valentin Zykov, who both are nursing upper-body injuries: "Z is sore. That's hopefully going to take a turn for the best, but he's going to be awhile too. Hopefully we get lucky with Phil. I know he still doesn't have a lot of strength and range of motion, but hopefully it gets better soon."

Video: Bill Peters: "Hard to play against"


CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
10:35 a.m.

Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe, both of whom are nursing upper-body injuries, took part in today's skate, and it looks like McGinn is ready to draw back in to the lineup.

Aho-Staal-Teravainen
Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
Nordstrom-Wallmark-Stempniak
McGinn-Ryan-Brown

Slavin-Faulk
Hanifin-Pesce
Dahlbeck-Murphy

Lack
Ward

Matt Tennyson looks to be the healthy extra on defense. Valentin Zykov (upper body) and Jay McClement (lower body) did not participate in the morning skate.

More from the room in just a bit!


STAAL, WILD VISIT RALEIGH
6:00 a.m.

A familiar face will be back in town on Thursday night, as Eric Staal and the Minnesota Wild make their first and only visit of the season to Raleigh.

This marks Staal's second return to PNC Arena as a member of the opposition after being traded prior to last season's deadline. The longtime Canes captain made an emotional return with the New York Rangers a month following the trade. Thursday night will be his first visit since, with a Wild team that is challenging the Chicago Blackhawks for the top spot in the Western Conference.

"It's fun. We're fighting right now to get back to dunking in wins like we had a lot earlier on," Staal said after practice in Raleigh on Wednesday. "We still like the position we're in and the team we have. We want to finish strong before the playoffs start."

"He's had a good year. He's a good player. 6-4, wins draws, starts with the puck," head coach Bill Peters said. "He's playing on a good team doing good things, so good for him."

Eric knows he may have to handle a healthy dose of his brother, Jordan, just like old times.

"It will bring me back to playing against him when he was in Pittsburgh. He said he's got some good legs, so he'll be ready tomorrow night," Eric said. "I've been watching these guys. I know a lot of them, so I've been paying attention. He's been playing well. He's big and strong, and he controls a lot of the play when he's on the ice. He doesn't give up a lot. It will be a challenge whoever's against him."

Tonight is the end of a five-game road swing for the Wild, winners of just one of their last four games. Minnesota has given up four goals in each of the four games on this road trip, beating only Florida in high-scoring 7-4 fashion.

The Hurricanes have earned points in each of their last four games (2-0-2), most recently taking three of a possible four points in a home-and-home, back-to-back set against the New York Islanders. Monday's game in Brooklyn was an 8-4 last-shot-wins-type of match, while Tuesday's tilt in Raleigh was a much more structured 3-2 overtime decision.

"I didn't think it was going to be 8-4 or 12 goals combined. Tonight was a little more realistic. I thought both goaltenders played well," Peters said after the game. "There were some breakdowns both ways, and the goaltenders bailed some people out."

Already missing the services of forwards Brock McGinn, Phil Di Giuseppe and Valentin Zykov due to upper-body injuries, the Hurricanes lost forward Jay McClement to a lower-body concern in Tuesday's game.

"I know they braced him up and he tried to go," Peters said. "Hopefully we catch a break there. We're running on fumes a little bit."

After Ward saw back-to-back starts in net, Peters hinted at Eddie Lack taking to the crease tonight against the Wild, but a final goaltending decision has yet to be finalized. Lack is 2-0-1 with a 1.39 goals-against average in four career appearances against Minnesota.

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes' last win against the Wild in Raleigh came on Nov. 15, 2009, a 5-4 shootout win. … Joakim Nordstrom has tallied goals in consecutive games. In the 2015-16 season, he tallied two assists in as many games against the Wild.


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