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Preseason Gameday: Hurricanes at Wild

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

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Now in the final week of their exhibition season, the Carolina Hurricanes will begin a three-game road with a Sunday evening stop in Minnesota.

With 46 players remaining in camp, the Hurricanes are taking a bigger-than-usual group with them on the road, and tonight's lineup is a reflection of that volume. It's a mixed crew, veterans sprinkled amongst some young talent competing for spots on the team.

The first line features the Russian duo of Sergey Tolchinsky and Valentin Zykov on the wing with Andrew Poturalski in the middle.

"They were real good [in Traverse City], and our team played well there. Ulfie and his crew did a good job there. They have some chemistry, and we're going to play them," head coach Bill Peters said. "I'm not going to hold them back. I'm going to play them in important situations and give them an opportunity to make a good impression."

The trio of Brock McGinn, Derek Ryan and Phil Di Giuseppe features three players who split their time between Carolina and Charlotte last season.

"It's real important for these young guys," Peters said. "If you're going to make our team, you've got to come out and earn a job. We're not going to hand it to you."

Professional tryout Raffi Torres is getting another look tonight on a line with Jay McClement and Viktor Stalberg.

The team's defense tonight will be incredibly young; Ryan Murphy, with all of 124 games played in the NHL, will be the "veteran" of the group, at least in terms of experience.

"This is a real important stretch for everybody in the next four days," Peters said. "We'll get a good look at everybody in game situations, and that's where you've got to evaluate players."

In net, Michael Leighton will start and split duties with Alex Nedeljkovic, as the Hurricanes continue to get varied looks between the pipes.

On the other side of the ice, longtime Hurricane and former captain Eric Staal is expected to center Minnesota's first line between wingers Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle. The Eric vs. Jordan match-up, then, will have to wait until mid-March when the Wild visits Raleigh.

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