Get comfy at PNC Arena, everybody. We’ll be spending a lot of time here in the next month.
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s cross-conference match-up 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.
Important programming note: for those who can’t make it to PNC Arena, tonight’s game is the final SportSouth broadcast of the season. This channel isn’t typically included in standard packages, but most carriers provide an overflow channel in order to broadcast the game. These channel numbers can vary on a game-to-game basis, so click here
to locate your SportSouth channel number.
A projected lineup and a preview of tonight’s game can be found below. The Canes will hold a 10:30 a.m. morning skate at PNC Arena, and we’ll have rinkside updates then!Last updated: 4:00 p.m.
BEFORE THE FACEOFF4:00 p.m.
Setting the table for tonight's match-up between the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes!
CANES LINEUP AND PETERS' QUOTES12:00 p.m.
Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen will make his NHL debut for the Hurricanes tonight, head coach Bill Peters confirmed. He'll play the left side with John-Michael Liles to his right.
"We're going to play him, we're not going to hide him and away he goes," Peters said. "It's a great accomplishment playing in the best league in the world. He's a young guy with a bright future. It's an exciting time. You just want to make sure he enjoys it and set him up to be successful."
The team's forward lines remained consistent from practice yesterday, meaning Brad Malone will be the healthy extra up front. On defense, Hainsey-Faulk remain the top pair, while Rissanen-Liles and Hillen-Bellemore round out the group of six.
Anton Khudobin will get the start in net, his second against Minnesota this season. It will be an opportunity to avenge a 6-3 loss in Minnesota just weeks ago when he stopped 18 of 23 shots. Khudobin's last start was a 28-save shutout against the Washington Capitals.
More from Peters below.On the opposition:
"They're playing real well. Just dialed right in. I think they've been excellent. They're getting good goaltending right now, all four lines play with speed and the D move it. ... I like their team a lot. The penalty kill is real good, and the power play is dangerous. We'll have our hands full, but it's an exciting challenge."On Minnesota's second-ranked penalty kill:
"If we get a power play, we better execute. We'll expect up-ice pressure. They'll be aggressive in-zone. There are no secrets to what they do. You just have to execute and beat their pressure."
CANES PROJECTED LINEUP6:00 a.m.
Here’s how the Canes lined up in practice on Thursday.
E. Staal-J. Staal-Nestrasil
A starting goaltender has yet to be named. We’ll have any and all lineup-related updates from the Hurricanes’ morning skate.
FIRST OF TWO PROLONGED HOMESTANDS BEGINS6:00 a.m.
The Carolina Hurricanes have reached the quarter pole of the 2014-15 regular season with just 20 games remaining.
The team will play those final 20 games over a stretch of 37 days. 13 of those 20 games will be played at PNC Arena, with 11 home games being played in March alone. Tonight’s tilt against the Minnesota Wild, the second and final meeting between these teams in a span of two weeks, marks the beginning of the first of two five-game homestands in March.
“We’ve got to manage [our time] properly,” head coach Bill Peters said after practice on Wednesday. “We want to make sure we’re managing our energy levels and have real good structure to what we do over the next 10 days.”
The Hurricanes began March with a 5-2 loss in Chicago, that coming after rattling off three straight victories over Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Islanders to end February.
“We’ve played good here recently. We weren’t exactly dialed in in Chicago,” Peters said. “Now we’ve got to get back at it. We’ve got a very good schedule in the month of March.”
The Canes and Wild met recently on Feb. 14 in Minnesota. Carolina fell in a 3-0 hole in the first period and would eventually climb back to within a goal at 4-3 before ultimately dropping a 6-3 decision.
“It was a very bizarre game,” Peters said that night. “It was as bad as we’ve played in a long time.”
Minnesota was hot then and has remained hot since. They’ve earned points in 16 of their last 18 games, winning 15 of those games. They bring a four-game winning streak to Raleigh after topping the Capitals 2-1 on Thursday night in D.C.
Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen could make his NHL debut tonight. He was paired with recently-acquired blueliner Jack Hillen in practice on Thursday.
“We want to get him in right away, but we want to make sure we put him in a situation to be successful,” Peters said of the Finnish defenseman who earned his first NHL call-up this week.
NOTES: Andrej Nestrasil is streaking. He has recorded assists (5) in three straight games. Since joining the Canes in November, Nestrasil has a team-best plus-7 rating. … The Hurricanes are 5-0-1 all-time at home against Minnesota.