– On the heels of a commanding 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres
, the Carolina Hurricanes were back on the ice early Saturday morning to prepare for the Dallas Stars.
The Canes’ second of three round-robin games in the annual Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament is set for a 3:30 p.m. face-off today. The Stars are coming off of a 4-3 overtime win against the New York Rangers on Friday night.
“Hopefully the nerves are gone. But now all of a sudden it’s a quick back-to-back game. You might be a little tight, stiff or sore after playing a game last night,” head coach Jeff Daniels said. “Now we’ll see if guys can do it two nights in a row. It’s easy to do it one night, but if you want to be a real pro, you have to do it every single night.”
The Canes will make a few adjustments to their lineup for Saturday’s tilt. Daniel Altshuller will man the pipes, as Daniels said on Friday that he plans to play both of his goaltenders. Brock McGinn will be held out with a lower-body concern. McGinn skated off the ice in quite a bit of pain during yesterday’s second period, but he played the remainder of the game and skated this morning.
“He wants to play, but we’re trying to be smart this time of year and give him a couple of days,” Daniels said. “He’ll be back in the lineup Monday night.”
Clark Bishop, who centered the fourth line on Friday, will slide up to man the left side on the first line with Victor Rask and Sergey Tolchinsky. Tournament invitee Mathew Campagna will fill the fourth-line center role today.
On defense, tournament invitee Patrick McEachen will draw into the lineup to pair with Tyler Ganly, as Kyle Jenkins, a seventh-round draft pick for the Canes this year, will sit.
This is a short tournament – four games (three round-robin) in five days – and even though it’s only the second day, there are already clinching scenarios to discuss.
The tournament concludes Tuesday with teams crossing divisions to play their standings’ equal, with the two first-place teams squaring off for the championship at 7 p.m. The Canes’ 6-1 win over Buffalo on Friday has positioned them well; they received three points for the regulation win, and their goal differential is a tournament-best plus-five. Since the Dallas-New York Friday match-up was decided in overtime, the three points were split 2-1 in favor of the Stars.
All that is to say: Carolina can clinch the Ted Lindsay Division and a Tuesday championship berth tonight with a regulation win over Dallas and a Buffalo victory – in regulation or overtime – over New York.
Should that play out, the Canes would sit in first with six points, and only Buffalo would be able to match that total with two regulation wins. But, the Canes hold the first tiebreaker over the Sabres in their head-to-head victory.
Just as we did yesterday, we’ll have live game updates from David’s Rink at Centre Ice in Traverse City on @Canes_Gameday.
Extras: McGinn (lower-body), Jenkins