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At the Rink: Red Wings at Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes already have turned to Plan B on defense after James Wisniewski sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in their season-opener against the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Wisniewski, acquired in a June 27 trade with the Anaheim Ducks, went down along the boards on his second shift. He will have surgery Tuesday, followed by a six-month recovery.

"He's a strong guy mentally," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Saturday. "He will do what he has to do. He will get himself back and continue his career. We will support him the best way we can."

Michal Jordan, a healthy scratch Thursday, will take Wisniewski's spot with John-Michael Liles, skating on the right side against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings rolled to a 4-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their season-opener Friday, with Justin Abdelkader scoring a hat trick. The game marked Jeff Blashill's debut as an NHL coach after he took over for Mike Babcock, who now coaches the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Obviously the first game of any season is a big deal. And when it's your first game in the NHL, there's another side of it that's a big deal," Blashill said. "But our focus was so much on our preparation and making sure we were ready to go."

Blashill wasn't the only Red Wing who enjoyed a successful NHL debut. Nineteen-year-old Dylan Larkin skated on the top line and had a goal and an assist for his first NHL points. Larkin, selected 15th in the 2014 NHL Draft, was a freshman at the University of Michigan last season, then played six games for Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League playoffs. Blashill was the coach in Grand Rapids last season.

"He's certainly passed every test that we've seen," Blashill said. "He was an impact player for us in Grand Rapids and he's done that in camp. He has great tenacity on the puck and the skill set to go with it."

The Hurricanes, who fell behind 2-0 in the first period Thursday, will need a faster start in front of their home crowd.

"We've got to be able to match what they're trying to do," Peters said. "The [Henrik] Zetterberg line was very dangerous last night consistently throughout the game, so we have to make sure we have a plan there. And our big dogs have to outplay their big dogs."

Here are the projected lineups:


Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Dylan Larkin

Tomas Tatar - Brad Richards - Gustav Nyquist

Johan Franzen - Riley Sheahan - Teemu Pulkkinen

Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Landon Ferraro

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Mike Green

Brendan Smith - Jakub Kindl

Petr Mrazek

Jimmy Howard

Injured: Pavel Datsyuk (ankle), Darren Helm (shoulder, concussion), Danny DeKeyser (foot)

Scratched: Tomas Jurco, Joakim Andersson, Alexey Marchenko


Eric Staal - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Kris Versteeg

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Chris Terry

Joakim Nordstrom - Jay McClement - Andrej Nestrasil

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Michal Jordan

Noah Hanifin - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Brad Malone, Danny Biega

Status report: Murphy will replace Wisniewski on the second power-play unit. … Biega, who made his NHL debut March 19, was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League to round out the defensive group. … The Red Wings had an optional morning skate and will use the same lineup they played with Friday.

Who's Hot: Ward stopped 23 shots in their 2-1 loss Thursday. … Zetterberg had three assists Friday.

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