Riding a two-game winning streak, the Carolina Hurricanes will play a back-to-back set of matinee games this weekend, a 1:00 p.m. game in Boston on Saturday followed by a 3:00 p.m. game versus Edmonton in Raleigh on Sunday.
Here are a few notes heading into this weekend’s slate of games.
-- Here’s a recap of the Canes’ 4-2 win over the Sabres on Thursday night, and here is a look at the finer points of the game via our new postgame infographics. As noted last night, Jeff Skinner posted 13 shots, a career-high and a new franchise-high, surpassing Eric Staal’s 12 shots versus Atlanta on March 28, 2008.
Said head coach Kirk Muller about the play of Skinner-E. Staal-Lindholm: “They really did a good job of really supporting each other with short, little passes. The chemistry really seems to be starting to register with them. To be honest with you, I thought it was Eric’s best overall two-way game of the season. I thought he made good choices, and he was always in the right position,” he said. “With Jeff getting 13 shots, that means you’re on the puck and he’s using his creativity and shooting mentality. That’s when he’s at his best.”
-- Today's Rink Report, which you can watch above, revisits Thursday's win with Jiri Tlusty and Jeff Skinner. Be sure to stay until the end, too. You won't regret it.
-- One winning streak will end on Saturday: the Canes have won two straight games, while the Bruins have strung together seven straight victories.
“What we have to do is play our game. We have to play a real speed game and a real quick game. We have to go in with the mindset that it’s going to take 60 minutes to win the game. If the results aren’t there in the first and second, almost like last night’s game, what we’re hoping for is to try to wear them down by making it a fast-paced, skating game,” Muller said. “We’re not going to beat them in scrums, with pucks in the corners and in a physical game. So we want to keep the puck moving and keep it quick.”
-- With an afternoon puck drop on both Saturday and Sunday, the Canes will not hold morning skates. Not that that differs from what the team has done this week – Carolina did not have morning skates prior to their games on Tuesday or Thursday, both wins – but it does change the preparation slightly.
Today was a practice day, but it was essentially the team’s morning skate.
“That was our morning skate. We talked about some things already today to get them in the mindset. So it kind of starts a day earlier,” Muller said. “As far as afternoon games, guys are used to routine and all that, but you’ve just got to prepare now with getting up early and getting their meals and all that put into place. The biggest thing is getting your legs in the first period.”
-- Defenseman Justin Faulk is possible for Saturday’s game in Boston, according to Muller. Faulk, who has participated in two team practices this week, has missed five consecutive games with an upper-body injury.
“We’re hoping [to get him back]. We gave him a little more work today,” Muller said. “Hopefully he feels he’s comfortable enough to play tomorrow. It’d be great to have him back.”
In other lineup notes, defensemen Andrej Sekera and Brett Bellemore did not practice on Friday, but Muller said they’d both be in the lineup on Saturday.
Up front, the fourth line might have a bit of a different look in Boston. Manny Malhotra, who was a healthy scratch Thursday against Buffalo, centered Andrei Loktionov and Radek Dvorak in practice, and Drayson Bowman was the extra forward. The other three forward lines remained consistent.
-- Sunday is Military Appreciation Day at PNC Arena, and the Canes will be honoring all veterans and active duty military for their service and commitment to our country.
On PNC Arena’s South Plaza prior to the game, you will find all branches of the military with their vehicles, weapons and equipment on display (weather permitting). The Canes will be wearing special military sweaters in warm-ups, which will then be auctioned off. Finally, Sunday’s game marks the last day of the Military Appreciation Drive, in which fans can donate new, unopened packages of shaving razors and/or washcloths to benefit the USO of North Carolina. Donations will be accepted at all arena entrances on Sunday, and fans who donate can enter to win one of five prizes.
-- Happy Pi Day from the Canes.