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Putting a Bow on Preseason

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

The Carolina Hurricanes wrapped up their seven-game preseason schedule with a 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals on Friday night in Raleigh.

It was the Hurricanes' second straight shootout victory and the team's fourth victory of the exhibition season. Additionally, the Canes earned points in five of seven games.

Head coach Bill Peters rejoined the team following the World Cup of Hockey at the beginning of October and oversaw his team play four games in six days.

"I thought we were good defensively for the most part. We didn't give up much. I thought both goaltenders were real good," Peters said. "I thought the Lindholm power play unit showed some skill, obviously, and that should continue to get better as they get more reps. Some of the young guys that I didn't know very well, now you have a better handle on them."

Friday night's game was a final chance for a handful of players to leave a lasting impression. Training camp roster cuts loom, and the Hurricanes have to be down to a 23-man group by end-of-day Tuesday. Three practice days remain until the Canes drop the puck on the 2016-17 regular-season campaign in Winnipeg on Oct. 13.

"We'll get down in numbers a little bit. Still a lot of bodies here," Peters said after a 30-minute skate on Saturday morning. "We'll make sure we touch on our systems play but also make sure we have good pace in practices."

Phil Di Giuseppe, who played in 41 games with the Hurricanes last season, came into camp this year looking to secure a full-time role with the team. He's been noticeable in the preseason and on Friday night, he showed a physical edge to his skillful game.

"Phil is a guy who can play up and down the lineup and bring speed to whatever line he's on. It's speed on the forecheck, speed on the track, speed on attacking the net with and without the puck," Peters said. "He's skilled enough to play with skilled players, and he plays hard enough to play deeper in the lineup and provide that [physical] dimension. That was a good clean, check last night, and then he answered the bell for his first fight, I believe, of his career."

Di Giuseppe said it was likely his first fight of record, and it happened in response to a heavy check he laid on Taylor Chorney behind the Capitals net in the second period. Chorney was helped off the ice and tested for a concussion before returning to the contest. In the third period, Di Giuseppe and Matt Niskanen tossed the mitts. Di Giuseppe sliced his finger on Niskanen's visor, which also cut the Capitals' defneseman across his cheek.

"I think you have to finish the checks that are there and make sense," Peters said. "The reason you take the body is so you can separate the man from the puck. We want the puck back when we don't have it. That's why you get on the body, and we want to be intelligent about how we do that."

Di Giuseppe did not practice on Saturday due to the laceration on his finger, but Peters indicated it wasn't too concerning of an issue.

Defenseman Justin Faulk was also held off the ice on Saturday. He left Friday's game early in the second period with a lower-body injury, what Peters later called "general soreness." The Hurricanes are being cautious with Faulk, but Peters said they expect him to return to practice on Sunday.

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