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Preview: Hurricanes at Panthers

Cam Ward to start 600th game with Carolina; Florida tries to end three-game slide

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

HURRICANES (25-25-8) at PANTHERS (28-23-10)

7:30 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-F, NHL.TV


Hurricanes team scope

Goalie Cam Ward will make his 600th NHL start for the Hurricanes on his birthday (sort of). Ward, born Feb. 29, 1984, is a leap-year baby. He'll become the 11th goalie to start 600 games with one team. Ward is in his 12th NHL season, all with Carolina, which took him in the first round (No. 25) in the 2002 NHL Draft. "That's unreal," coach Bill Peters said. "That's a testament to (Ward's) longevity and the loyalty to the organization and the organization to him. I know he's excited to start here." Ward became the 46th goalie in NHL history with 600 appearances when he made 36 saves in a 5-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Jan. 13. Eddie Lack started the last two games, including a 3-1 home loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday. The Hurricanes, 1-5-1 in their past seven games, are tied with the Detroit Red Wings for fewest points in the Eastern Conference with 58, although they have played two fewer games than any team.


Panthers team scope

Roberto Luongo will be back in goal after James Reimer started four of the past six games. Luongo allowed four goals on 28 shots in his last start, a 4-2 home loss to the Flames on Friday. Florida will be looking to end a streak of three regulation losses, its first since late October. Before that, the Panthers had the first 5-0-0 road trip in franchise history. They conclude a four-game homestand that began with losses to the Edmonton Oilers, Flames and Ottawa Senators. "I think we're not playing that bad," forward Jonathan Huberdeau said. "We lost three in a row, but I guess the bounces are not going our way. We've just got to find a way that they're going to go our way. We've got to forget about the last three games and focus on tonight." The Panthers trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by three points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Victor Rask -- Elias Lindholm

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Phillip Di Giuseppe

Jeff Skinner -- Teuvo Teravainen -- Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Derek Ryan

Jaccob Slavin -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Brett Pesce

Klas Dahlbeck -- Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Matt Tennyson

Injured: None


Panthers projected lineup  

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith 

Jonathan Marchessault -- Denis Malgin -- Nick Bjugstad

Michael Sgarbossa -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour 

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Mark Pysyk -- Alex Petrovic

Michael Matheson -- Jason Demers

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Jakub Kindl, Shawn Thornton

Injured: None


Status report

The Hurricanes traded forward Viktor Stalberg to the Ottawa Senators for a third-round choice in the 2017 NHL Draft. McGinn, who missed the game against Calgary with an undisclosed injury, took part in the morning skate but no final determination had been made as to his availability. Peters said Teravainen would skate at center regardless of whether McGinn is in the lineup. … Malgin will make his first appearance since being sent to Springfield of the American Hockey League in mid-January. The 19-year-old rookie had four goals and four assists in his first 17 games with Florida before going without a point in his next 22. Thornton will be a healthy scratch for the first time in 21 games.


Who's hot

Di Giuseppe has three assists in four games since being recalled from Charlotte of the AHL. Carolina leads the NHL in penalty-killing (86.5 percent). … Marchessault has three goals in the past four games. Barkov has 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in 10 games.

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