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Preview: Golden Knights vs. Hurricanes

Canes back in action after extended break

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Carolina Hurricanes return from a nine-day layoff to close out their January schedule against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Bolstered by Justin Williams' return to the lineup, the Hurricanes won two straight games heading into All-Star Weekend and the bye week.

Williams Makes Immediate Impact

At 38 years old and after missing the first three-and-a-half months of the regular season, Williams returned to the Canes' lineup to score a shootout-winning goal in his debut and two goals in the next game.

PROJECTED LINEUP

"He's a good player. He obviously had a good game tonight and came up with some big goals for us, which we needed," head coach Brind'Amour said after the team's 4-1 win over Winnipeg last Tuesday. "He knows how to play. I don't care how old you are. If you know how to play and you know where to go, that's kind of what he does."

Video: WPG@CAR: Williams nets first goal in return to 'Canes

Williams' immediate impact, the veteran forward playing such a pivotal role in the Canes' two wins heading into break, wasn't exactly expected, but it wasn't all that surprising, either.

"We all know the character and attitude he brings to the game. It's contagious," Jaccob Slavin said in St. Louis. "To have him back in the locker room around the guys, and obviously his on-ice abilities - we saw it in the first two games. He helped us win both those games. It's awesome to have him back."

Slavin Shines at All-Star Weekend

Jaccob Slavin made headlines in his first-career NHL appearance, finishing with the top time in Accuracy Shooting at All-Star Skills. It took Slavin eight shots in 9.505 seconds to hit the five digital targets.

"It was a really cool experience," he said. "I think I missed the first once, and I was like, 'Uh oh. This could be a long night.' Then, it just started rolling. I'll take it."

Video: Accuracy Shooting: Slavin wins with superb shooting

Slavin and the Metropolitan Division didn't fare so well in the All-Star Game, but the weekend was one to remember for the Canes' defenseman.

"It's a privilege and an honor to be here," he said. "Just how much of a blessing it is to be here with the abilities God has given me and put me in the position I'm in. All in all, a really fun weekend."

The Opposition

For the second straight season, the Hurricanes come off the bye week to host the Golden Knights, who have also been idle since last Tuesday. Vegas somewhat stumbled into the extended break, a stretch punctuated by a head coaching change in which Pete DeBoer replaced Gerard Gallant. The Golden Knights bring a 25-20-7 record and 57 points into this game, the start of a four-game road trip.


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