The Carolina Hurricanes will wrap up their seven-game preseason schedule with a 3 p.m. matinee faceoff in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
The Canes come into the preseason finale with a 2-4 record in the exhibition season. On Friday, Carolina iced a rather experienced bunch at home and walked away with a 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. After the game, head coach Bill Peters said it was the team’s best effort to date.
Closing out the preseason on a similar high note wouldn’t be a bad thing.
“We want to build on last night, for sure. We did some good things,” Peters said after practice on Saturday. “We’ll continue to get better and better as we go.”
The Canes won’t ice the exact same lineup as seen on Friday, but with only 24 players left on the roster – Patrick Brown was reassigned to Charlotte on Sunday – it will be somewhat comparable.
Up front, Chad LaRose will draw back into the lineup. Peters said he was aiming to have the 32-year-old play around 14 minutes on Friday night. But just 1:08 into his time on ice, he was whistled for a major boarding penalty and given a game misconduct.
An extra on Friday, Chris Terry will dress in Washington.
On defense, John-Michael Liles will enter the lineup after sitting out Friday’s match. Peters said the status of Brett Bellemore was still to be determined.
“We were talking about it here prior to going on the ice,” he said. “We’re leaning in that direction (dressing him) but haven’t firmed it up.”
As planned, Anton Khudobin will get the start in net and will play the entire game.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” Peters said. “That was the plan all along.”
Using Cam Ward one night and Anton Khudobin the other will likely be a strategy the Canes employee at the outset of the regular season that immediately thrusts the team into a back-to-back, home-and-home situation against the New York Islanders.
“The odds of us going with one guy one night and the other guy the next is still pretty good,” Peters said. “We’ve talked about it, and I don’t think it’s changed. I think it’s probably the wise thing to do at this time of year.”
An important radio programming note: you can hear this game on WDNC/The Buzz, which can be found on 99.3 FM in Raleigh and 96.5 FM in Durham, in addition to 620 AM.
Also, if you have NHL Network, this afternoon's game can be found there.
CarolinaHurricanes.com will be rinkside at Verizon Center this afternoon to bring you live in-game updates. The puck drops at 3 p.m., and you can follow along on Twitter with these accounts: @NHLCanes, @Canes_Gameday and @MSmithCanes.