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SASKATOON - The Carolina Hurricanes will again square off with the Edmonton Oilers in the team's sixth preseason game, and the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Sask., is the site of tonight's neutral-site exhibition.
The Hurricanes, who are 4-1 in the preseason and a perfect 4-0 on the road, will ice a bit of a younger group tonight in order to get some final reads and evaluations on their group, which will be pared down to a maximum of 23 players in the coming days.
"We've got a younger lineup than we've had in the last couple," head coach Bill Peters said. "It's a good opportunity for these guys to make an impression."
Martin Necas will play in his fifth preseason game tonight, and for the first time in camp, he'll shift to the right wing alongside Jeff Skinner and Derek Ryan. Peters has said in the past that the more versatile a player is, the more likely he is to crack the Opening Night roster.
"The absence of Stempniak has opened up an opportunity for somebody to play some additional games. Kuokkanen has been real good. Marty has been real good," Peters said. "We know he can play in the middle, and we want to see if he can play wing. We'll make an evaluation on him at the end of the preseason."
Nicolas Roy will draw into his first preseason game after he sustained a concussion in the final game of the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. Now medically cleared to enter game action, he'll center the team's fourth line tonight with wingers Phil Di Giuseppe and Valentin Zykov.
"We really like Nic. He's a smart player and has a good 200-foot game," Peters said. "He's going to be on the power play, so he's got a good opportunity here tonight."
On defense, Haydn Fleury will pair with Trevor van Riemsdyk, perhaps a preview of a defensive duo we'll see come the regular season. Jake Bean, Klas Dahlbeck, Trevor Carrick and Jake Chelios round out the rather young defensive corps.
Cam Ward, who was born and spent six years of his life in Saskatoon, gets the nod in net and is expected to play the full 60 minutes in one final tune-up before the regular season. Scott Darling is expected to man the crease in Friday's preseason finale versus Washington.
The puck drops at SaskTel Centre at 9 p.m. ET, and once again our friends in Edmonton are kind enough to share their live video stream on Hurricanes.com for Canes fans in the local broadcast territory. Chuck Kaiton will have the game call on WRALSportsFan.com, and @CanesTracking will have your in-game updates.
Listen: WRALSportsFan.com, WRAL Sports Fan mobile app