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Hurricanes aim to bounce back vs. Blackhawks

by David Kalan /

BLACKHAWKS (3-1-1) at HURRICANES (2-2-2)


Season series: This is the first meeting of the season between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina won the last meeting between the two, a 3-0 shutout at PNC Arena on Oct. 28, 2011.

Big story: The Hurricanes will look to bounce back and make a statement win against the defending Stanley Cup champions in their first game against the Blackhawks in nearly two calendar years.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: As the Blackhawks take the ice in just their second road game of the season, there seems little reason to be worried about how they're playing. Chicago is just three points back of the undefeated Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division and has lost just once in regulation in their first five games. Even that regulation loss came on a goal in the final minute against the St. Louis Blues, one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Since then the Blackhawks have reeled off two wins in a row, but even with the team winning games, there might be cause for concern. Chicago is known for its potent offense, but aside from a six-goal outburst on opening night, the team has not scored at its typical clip. The Hawks have scored more than two goals just once in their last four games and a return to form will be necessary in the dogfight expected atop the West. Considering Chicago has scored just two more goals than it's given up this season, the Blackhawks have been living on the margins through five games.

Hurricanes: A 5-3 defeat to the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday afternoon is likely not what Carolina coach Kirk Muller had in mind for the end of his weekend, and as a result, Muller might be shuffling his lineup ahead of Tuesday night. The Canes tested some new combinations at practice Monday, most notably moving Tuomo Ruutu, who was recently recalled off IR, to the first line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin.

"Just seeing a different look here today and experimenting in practice," Muller said. "We'll make decisions tomorrow, but we're just seeing if it makes sense to make a couple of little changes without doing a major overhaul."

In addition to the potential changes up front, Muller may have to do some juggling with his goalies. Starter Cam Ward was supposed to get Sunday off, but he was called into action following a leg injury to backup Anton Khudobin, whom the Hurricanes placed on IR Monday afternoon. Justin Peters has been called up from the AHL on an emergency basis to be the backup, but there is a chance he may get a start at some point this week so Muller can give Ward the break he expected on Sunday.

Who's hot: Patrick Kane has four goals and one assist in five games for the Blackhawks. He has failed to reach the score sheet just once this season. ... Nathan Gerbe has two goals and two assists over his current four-game point streak for Carolina.

Injury report: The Blackhawks should have a full lineup Tuesday night. Khudobin (lower-body injury) has been placed on IR and Elias Lindholm (undisclosed) is considered questionable for Carolina.

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