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Panthers at Hurricanes preview

Acciari seeks third straight hat trick with Florida; Carolina goes for eight-game point streak

by Kurt Dusterberg / Independent Correspondent

PANTHERS (17-12-5) at HURRICANES (22-11-2) 

7 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-CR, NHL.TV 


The Game 

Noel Acciari will try to become the first player in NHL history with a hat trick in three straight games when the Florida Panthers visit the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Saturday.

Acciari had three goals in a 7-4 win against the Dallas Stars on Friday and three goals in a 6-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Monday. It was the 76th time in NHL history that a player had hat tricks in back-to-back games.

Forward Erik Haula will return to the lineup for the Hurricanes after missing the past 15 games and 18 of the past 20 because of a knee injury.

Carolina is 6-0-1 in its past seven games and finished a five-game road trip (4-0-1) with a 3-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche. 


Players to watch 

Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau has scored four points in consecutive games (one goal, seven assists) and has 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in his past eight games.

Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho has 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in his past six games.


They said it 

"It's crazy, I've never seen that. It's cool for Noel. I think our line is clicking right now. We're keeping things simple, we're talking to each other. We're forechecking well too. It's a tough game (Saturday) against Carolina. We've just got to get ready." -- Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau on Noel Acciari scoring back-to-back hat tricks

"It's the opponent, number one. (Florida is) a good team; they've kind of cranked it up. We pushed pretty hard on the road and then you get to come home. I know yesterday everyone took a breath, and now you're right back at it. That's going to be the trick here is to make sure we don't take any setbacks." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour


Panthers projected lineup

Frank Vatrano -- Aleksander Barkov -- Brett Connolly

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Vincent Trocheck -- Noel Acciari

Mike Hoffman -- Brian Boyle -- Evgenii Dadonov

Colton Sceviour -- Dominic Toninato -- Mark Pysyk

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

MacKenzie Weegar -- Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson -- Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky

Chris Driedger

Scratched: Denis Malgin

Injured: Jayce Hawryluk (upper body)

Hurricanes projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen

Andrei Svechnikov -- Jordan Staal -- Warren Foegele

Ryan Dzingel -- Erik Haula -- Martin Necas

Brock McGinn -- Lucas Wallmark -- Jordan Martinook

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Joel Edmundson -- Brett Pesce

Jake Gardiner -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Petr Mrazek

James Reimer

Scratched: Haydn Fleury

Injured: None


Status report 

The Panthers did not hold a morning skate. ... Brind'Amour said the morning line rushes may not carry over to the game lineup. The Hurricanes assigned forward Brian Gibbons to Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Friday.


Stat pack 

Yandle has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his past nine games. … Martinook and Teravainen each have four assists in the past three games. ... Carolina defeated Florida 6-3 on Oct. 8 and 4-2 on Nov. 23. ... The Hurricanes have a 9-1-1 record in their past 11 games in the series, including five straight wins.

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