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Gameday: Blues vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Thank you, fans!

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's regular season home finale featuring the St. Louis Blues 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.

As always, we'll be rinkside at the Hurricanes' 10:30 a.m. morning skate, which will not be open to the public due to PNC Arena hosting Walk MS: Triangle 2017, an event in which Bryan Bickell and his wife will participate. You can join or donate to his team here.

Last updated: 6:35 p.m.


CANES LINES: WARM-UPS
6:35 p.m.

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

Aho-Staal-Teravainen
Nordstrom-Rask-Tolchinsky
Skinner-Lindholm-Stempniak
Bickell-Ryan-McGinn

Slavin-Pesce
Hanifin-Faulk
Dahlbeck-Tennyson

Ward
Lack

The puck drops at PNC Arena in 30 minutes!


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD TOOLS TO VICTORY
5:30 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco presents tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield three Tools to Victory.

Video: Tools to Victory: STL vs. CAR 


IN THE ROOM
3:30 p.m.

Hear from forwards Bryan Bickell, Jeff Skinner and Sergey Tolchinsky ahead of tonight's home finale.

Video: Bryan Bickell: "Hopefully we'll bring a spark"

Video: Jeff Skinner: "Do things right"

Video: Sergey Tolchinksy: "Nice to have opportunity"


PREGAME: PETERS
12:05 p.m.

After his team's final morning skate at PNC Arena of the season, head coach Bill Peters met with the media and was overcome with emotion when talking about Bryan Bickell.

"You guys have got to meet him and know him, so you know what he's all about. He's a guy's guy. He's handled it as good as you can," he said through tears. "He's a man's man, a pro's pro, and he's unbelievably brave."

Here's more from the Canes' bench boss.

On the importance of finishing strong at home: "I think that's it's important we go out playing the right way. We've had a good year at home. Our home record is very strong. We want to finish with a win. Our fans deserve that, they deserve the effort. Our players know how to do it right, and we should do it right individually and collectively for each other."

On evaluating young players, like Andrew Poturalski and now Sergey Tolchinsky: "Just making sure they get a good opportunity and a fair evaluation. It's still going to be a short sample size on guys, but it still gives you a chance to have a look at guys."

Video: Bill Peters: "Do it right for each other"


A WARM-UP TO THE WARM-UP
11:55 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes surprised their teammate and friend Bryan Bickell at this morning's Walk MS, joining him and his family and wearing "Bickell Brave" t-shirts with his No. 29 on the back. More on that wonderful surprise here.


CANES HOST BLUES IN HOME FINALE
6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes will close out their 41-game home slate in the 2016-17 season on Saturday night when they host the St. Louis Blues.

It's been a fruitful season at PNC Area for the Hurricanes, who have earned a 23-12-5 mark on home ice. It's the first time since 2008-09 and the sixth time in franchise history that the team has earned 50 or more points at home in a season.

In order to add a 24th win to that mark, the Hurricanes will have to snap a four-game losing skid. The team has been outscored 14-5 and shut out twice in the first four games of April. On Thursday, the Canes were blanked 3-0 by the New York Islanders, a hungry team attempting to claw their way into the second wild card spot. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, were eliminated from playoff contention a game prior, and the emotional sag was evident.

"We didn't have the desperation or intensity needed to win. They came out … and completely outplayed us early on," Lee Stempniak said. "We just didn't have it tonight early on. As it went on we played better, but it was just a case of too little, too late for us. We just couldn't get a goal."

"That was hard to watch, right?" head coach Bill Peters said. "I thought we were flat and stayed flat."

One aspect of their game the Canes will look to correct is their play at the outset of the game; the team wasn't satisfied with that in Minnesota on Tuesday or against the Islanders on Thursday.

"They came out and outskated us," Stempniak said. "As the game wore on, things evened up, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole."

The Hurricanes swapped forwards with Charlotte on Friday, recalling Sergey Tolchinsky and reassigning Andrew Poturalski, who is the Checkers' leading scorer.

The St. Louis Blues make their first and only visit of the season to Raleigh on Saturday. Derek Ryan scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 Hurricanes win over the Blues in St. Louis on Jan. 5.

The Blues have already stamped their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but their seeding is still to be determined. They can clinch third place in the Central Division with a point.

CANESPR NOTES: Justin Faulk is expected to skate in his 400th career game tonight. … The Hurricanes will close out the 2016-17 season with a back-to-back set. The team is 7-4-4 in the front halves and 7-6-2 in the back halves this season.


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