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Gameday: Rangers vs. Hurricanes

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s Metropolitan Division match-up between the New York Rangers 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.

A preview of tonight’s game can be found below. In a back-to-back situation, the Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate, but check back here for updates as the day progresses.

Last updated: 5:00 p.m.

5:00 p.m.

It's cold and icy outside, but Canes head coach Bill Peters was fired up this evening as he spoke with the media in advance of the Rangers-Canes faceoff. It's almost like he had been cooped up all day in his office, energy just waiting to burst. Anyway, here is the entirety of his session with the media from the moment I pressed the little red dot on my voice recorder.

Kurt Dusterberg: Any lineup changes for tonight? Guys coming in or out?
Bill Peters: From last night? No. The same. The exact same. We're going to go back to the original lines the way we started, too.

Michael Smith: What did you like about Eddie Lack's performance last night?
Peters: He was bigger. He was a little bit more under control and big and square. He was more aggressive and assertive, and he looked confident in there.

Smith: He's been in this situation before when he's had to step in while another goaltender goes out. Do you think he relishes this opportunity to prove himself?
Peters: He's 27 years old, and he capitalized on the opportunity last year when Ryan Miller got hurt and he played the playoffs. That's a great experience for him. He's in a similar situation right now. The ball's in his court. What's he going to do with it? His numbers, if you look at them in, what, the last seven starts, he's got a .919 save percentage. If you look at his body of work over the year, it's unimpressive, but you look at the recent stuff, it's much better and trending in the right direction, similar to our hockey team.

Chip Alexander: Were you surprised this game was played today?
Peters: No, I'm glad it's played. Where else are we going to play. We can't jam it in. We're already playing 13 games in 25 days this month, so let's play. They're here, we're here. That's all that matters.

Alexander: The crowd could be a factor.
Peters: They don't need to be here to play the game. No, you know, what are we going to do? When do they want to come back to Raleigh? I don't know. If it's safe, I haven't been outside since 8:00. What's it like out there?

Reporters: It's OK. Icy. Not too bad. But it could be at 11:00 tonight.
Peters: Well let's win in regulation, not go to OT and get everyone home safe.

Joe Micheletti: It could be like Boston and Vancouver last night. No penalties.
Peters: Oh, is that right? That's an indictment on the NHL officiating then. We've played a couple of those where we haven't taken a penalty. I watch it the next day, ohhh. We took penalties. They just weren't called.

Alexander: You did move Di Giuseppe last night?
Peters: Moved Lindholm, moved Di Giuseppe, moved a bunch of guys around. Tried to anyway. We were flat. We'll start over again, hit the reset button and see what we can do. Should be better.

Smith: You mentioned penalties -- do you feel like that maybe hampered your momentum in the first period last night?
Peters: Well, what were the shots at the time of our first penalty?

Smith: 9-2 maybe.
Peters: Exactly. So do you think the penalties hurt or helped? And where did they happen?

Smith: The offensive zone.
Peters: Think the coach likes those?

Smith: Nope.
Peters: There you go. And then who had the momentum for the next 30 minutes?

Smith: The other team.
Peters: There you go. So live and learn. Learn your lessons, right? Let's play a smart, intelligent game with some pace and puck possession tonight and try to get two points.

Alexander: What turned the momentum last night?
Peters: I don't know, did it ever really turn? I don't think we were ever that dangerous. I didn't think we made many plays. I thought we dug in a bit better and were more realistic about what was there. We didn't turn over as many pucks to make it easier for us, so our execution improved somewhat.

Alexander: It seemed like you had more jump in the third.
Peters: Well, we played everybody. We played all four lines and went right down the list. Match-ups didn't matter. Getting guys out there fresh and competing was the most important thing. Our last two efforts have been somewhat reasonable, but our execution and quality of play hasn't been where we want it to be. Again, it's how many games in how many days and how many trips out west. Excuses? No. Factors? Yes. Today, I would anticipate a small crowd, so where are you going to manufacture that emotion and energy? I'm ready to go. The Rangers are ready to go. We've got to get ready to go in that room. Big time. Desperate.

Alexander: Did you mention the number?
Peters: It's on the board. 1-18-0 since 2011. They were all whining about it. I said, 'Guys.' They go, 'No, no. We got some -- what are they called -- bonus points, overtime or shootout loss points.' I go, 'Yeah, but read. You're not illiterate. It says, New York Rangers vs. Carolina since 2011. They're 18-1-0. That's what they are. Don't pretend it didn't happen. It's happened. So what are we going to do differently? If we do the same thing, we're going to get the same results. We've got to make some adjustments. I know what they are. Can we do it? We'll find out. Check in at 9:32. That's when the horn's going to go.

End scene.

In lineup news, the Hurricanes will roll with the same exact lineup as utilized last night in Toronto. As a refresher:

Versteeg-E. Staal-Lindholm
Nordstrom-J. Staal-Nestrasil
Skinner-Rask-Di Giuseppe



11:30 a.m.

Because North Carolina is currently under a State of Emergency due to Winter Storm Jonas, the Hurricanes are offering a ticket exchange for fans who feel uncomfortable traveling to PNC Arena for tonight’s game. Fans may exchange their tickets to tonight’s game for comparable seats to one of the following six contests:
  • Sunday, Jan. 24 vs. Calgary
  • Tuesday, Feb. 16 vs. Winnipeg
  • Sunday, Feb. 21 vs. Tampa Bay
  • Tuesday, March 8 vs. Ottawa
  • Sunday, March 27 vs. New Jersey
  • Thursday, March 31 vs. New York Rangers
All ticket exchanges must take place at the PNC Arena Box Office during normal box office hours. The Hurricanes will also offer a special 25 percent snow-day discount on select items at their official team store, The Eye, to all fans in attendance at tonight’s game.

6:00 a.m.

After a month of rather grueling travel, the Carolina Hurricanes will settle into Raleigh for three straight games at home leading into the All-Star break.

Rangers vs. Hurricanes
PNC ARENA | 7 p.m.
That stretch begins tonight when the Canes host a Metropolitan Division opponent, the New York Rangers, the latter half of the team’s 12th back-to-back set this season.

On Thursday night, the Canes grinded out a 1-0 overtime win in Toronto. It was the third time this season that the Hurricanes and their opponents had played a scoreless game through regulation and the second such situation of which Carolina had come out on the winning end. It wasn’t pretty, the Canes’ first two periods hampered by penalties and an inability to generate consistent offensive pressure, but the team responded with an attacking third period and found reward in overtime off the stick of Jordan Staal.

“It was a tight game. There were opportunities on the power play, but 5-on-5 there wasn’t a lot,” Staal said. “I thought in the third period we did a good job of playing in their end a lot more and got back to the game we want to play. We created a lot of chances and a lot of shots.”

“We dug deep in the third. I don’t think our first two periods were quite what we envisioned. You’ve got two teams that play very similar styles. There’s not a lot of room out there,” John-Michael Liles said. “We got into some penalty trouble, and I don’t think we really got into the flow of the game until the third. We played a lot better in the third, and we were able to generate some chances.”

“It was sloppy at times and we didn’t execute as well as we would have liked, but I thought we skated better in the third and found a way to build a game,” head coach Bill Peters said. “We skated more and the bench had a little more emotion. We made more plays.”

Eddie Lack, who figures to be the lead man in the crease with Cam Ward sidelined with a concussion, made 32 saves in his first shutout as a Hurricane.

“We wanted to keep battling. I had been feeling good the whole game, and obviously I wanted the two points. I was really happy when Jordan scored,” Lack said. “I want to play a lot of games, and I’ve been in this situation before. I am comfortable with playing a lot. It’s up to me to prove myself here.”

“He was good. This is a great opportunity for him,” Peters said. “It was a good win for him tonight and a good win for the team. Now he has to build on this.”

The win in Toronto drew the Canes even with Montreal and Ottawa in points (50), three points back of New Jersey for the second and final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Holding on to second place in the Metropolitan Division is tonight’s opponent, the Rangers, at 25-16-5 (55 points). They’re 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, having won three of their last five. On Tuesday night, New York topped Vancouver 3-2 in overtime.

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes are now 16-5-2 in their back-to-back games this season, including records of 9-3-0 in the front halves and 7-2-2 in the back halves. … The Rangers have won 13 of the last 14 games against the Hurricanes, including the first two meetings of this season’s four-game series.

Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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