Exactly two weeks after the Carolina Hurricanes skated onto the ice for the beginning of training camp, the team will play its final preseason game.
The Canes host the Penguins at PNC Arena tonight to close out their six-game preseason slate. Carolina is riding a three-game winning streak heading into their exhibition finale, and while that amounts to nothing in the standings, its importance in terms of building a winning foundation is evident.
“[Pittsburgh’s] got a real good lineup going. We’ve got a good lineup going. It’s our last kick at the can prior to playing,” head coach Bill Peters said. “Guys need to play. They’ve got to play themselves into the timing of the game, into game shape.”
The Hurricanes will ice a lineup tonight that will be rather similar to the group that defeated Washington 4-3 in a shootout and fairly comparable to the group of 20 that will dress in Nashville on Thursday, Oct. 8.
“I think it’s close. Obviously Ron Hainsey, when healthy, will get in the lineup,” Peters said. “Some guys will be in different roles once we get everybody in.”
Kris Versteeg, Eric Staal and Elias Lindholm again comprise the Canes’ first line, while Andrej Nestrasil draws in for Brad Malone on the fourth line.
On defense, Michal Jordan will pair with Justin Faulk, the duo of John-Michael Liles and James Wisniewski provides a veteran presence and Noah Hanifin gets another look tonight with Ryan Murphy.
Ron Hainsey will miss his second straight game, having not practiced since Tuesday. Peters was asked if Hainsey being sidelined once again is a concern.
“It is for me,” he said. “It wasn’t when it happened, and it wasn’t the next day. But now it’s day four, so that makes me nervous. We’ll see.”
Cam Ward will make his third start of the preseason and is expected to play the full 60 minutes.
If the seemingly never-ending rain will keep you away from PNC Arena tonight, Chuck Kaiton will have the call on WRALSportsFan.com and in the WRAL Sports Fan mobile app, and as always, we’ll have live in-game updates on @Canes_Gameday.
Extras: Malone, Ryan, McGinn, Hainsey, Fleury, Slavin, Pesce
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