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With Opening Night a mere eight days away, it's time for a final dress rehearsal for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Canes host the Washington Capitals in their seventh and final preseason game tonight at PNC Arena. The lineup that Carolina will ice tonight is just about what we'll see here again in just over a week.
"I expect a good finish to the preseason here tonight," head coach Bill Peters said. "We don't play for a long time, so this game tonight is going to be the taste you're left with going into the Minnesota game."
The Hurricanes bring a 4-2 preseason record into tonight's game, though Peters isn't much concerned with the final tally.
"I'm more worried about how we play and the habits. You can have good or poor preseason records, and they don't really translate in the regular season," he said. "I liked our game in Washington. I liked the way we closed it out. … I liked our total effort in Edmonton. I thought we played with good pace and structure. We got a little bit younger on Wednesday, and that opened up more holes, obviously, but those guys deserved an opportunity to go in a game."
Video: Bill Peters: "Better than we anticipated"
In addition to the regulars that will dress tonight, Martin Necas and Janne Kuokkanen will get another look on the wings. This will mark Necas' sixth preseason game and his second playing wing instead of his natural center position.
"He's a real good player, and he's done a great job," Peters said. "From day one to now, he's probably better than we would have anticipated. We've got to make sure we're doing the right thing."
On the back-end, Haydn Fleury and Trevor van Riemsdyk comprise the team's third pair, likely to again be the case next Saturday versus Minnesota.
"We've learned a lot, and the evaluation process has gone as planned, probably, minus a couple of injuries," Peters said.
Video: Haydn Fleury: "Been pretty stressful"
Absent from tonight's lineup are Lee Stempniak and Teuvo Teravainen. Teravainen was held out of the third period in Edmonton and remains sidelined, but, more than anything, the Canes simply want to be cautious with him. Stempniak, on the other hand, has not practiced in some time.
"He hasn't got himself right yet, but he's getting closer," Peters said.
Scott Darling will make his second start of the exhibition season in net, and he's expected to play the full game.
The final puck drop of the preseason happens at 7:30 p.m. here at PNC Arena. If you can't make it out to the game and live in the team's broadcast territory, we'll have a live stream featuring John Forslund and Tripp Tracy available on our website. As always, Chuck Kaiton will have the call on WRALSportsFan.com, and your in-game updates can be found on @CanesTracking.
Listen: WRALSportsFan.com, WRAL Sports Fan mobile app