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The Carolina Hurricanes will close out a three-games-in-three-nights stretch with their first home game of the 2017 preseason, as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the back-end of a home-and-home, back-to-back set.
The Hurricanes are 2-0 to begin their seven-game preseason schedule with wins over Buffalo (3-2 in overtime) and Tampa Bay (2-1). And while wins and losses are of no paramount concern in the preseason, establish good habits is certainly a positive.
"You want to find a way. When you're in position to get points after 40 minutes, especially on the road, you want to make sure you do that and we did it both nights. That's a good thing," head coach Bill Peters said. "I thought the guys really dug in and played hard."
Video: Bill Peters: "We have a smart group"
Compared to the team's first two games, the Canes will ice their most veteran lineup of the preseason thus far. Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal and Elias Lindholm will lead the offense on the top line, while Jeff Skinner and Derek Ryan will also be in the lineup. Martin Necas will dress in his second NHL preseason game and will center Phil Di Giuseppe and Patrick Brown.
Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce formed the Canes' top defensive pair in Buffalo on Monday, and they'll get another crack at it again tonight. Jaccob Slavin will make his preseason debut alongside Haydn Fleury.
In goal, Cam Ward gets the start and will play at least 30 minutes, if not two periods. Jeremy Smith will enter the game in relief.
Video: Jeff Skinner: "Good to get some looks"
Special teams has, for better or worse, been a mainstay in the preseason, and we'll likely see plenty of it again tonight as the league continues to crack down on slashing and faceoff violations.
"It's unfortunate, but that's the reality here early in the exhibition season. I hope it either settles down or the players adjust," Peters said. "I understand it, and I get it. I think it will be fine once the standard is established and the communication is clear."
Preseason hockey returns to PNC Arena tonight with a 7 p.m. puck drop. If you can't make it out to the rink and you're in the Canes' broadcast region, you can catch a live video stream of the game (with John Forslund and Tripp Tracy on the call!) on Hurricanes.com. Chuck Kaiton will have the radio call, as always, on WRALSportsFan.com, and we'll have in-game updates on @CanesTracking.
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