Hurricanes vs. Sabres: Preseason Game Preview 9-27-13

Ex-Sabre Nathan Gerbe (shown here 9/18/13) had an impressive two-goal performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. - Jamie Kellner

The Hurricanes look to close out their preseason on a high note as they take on the Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena tonight.

Carolina Hurricanes vs Buffalo Sabres
Friday, September 27, 2013 - 7:00 pm EDT
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
Radio - 99.9 The Fan

SB Nation Rival Blog: Die by the Blade (twitter @diebytheblade)

After a rocky 0-3 start, the Hurricanes have now won their last two preseason games and have a chance to pull to .500 with a win against the Buffalo Sabres tonight here in Raleigh.

Skating this morning:

Forwards: Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Radek Dvorak;  Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer; Drayson Bowman - Riley Nash - Zac Dalpe; Chris Terry - Brett Sutter - Kevin Westgarth/Jeremy Welsh

Defense: Justin Faulk - Ron Hainsey; Andrej Sekera - Ryan Murphy; Jay Harrison - Mike Komisarek; Brett Bellemore - Matt Corrente (unsure at this time which pairs will be playing tonight)

Cam Ward, solid in net last night against Columbus, should get the start again tonight, backed up by Anton Khudobin.  Ward admitted he was a little over-anxious in the first preseason games and needed last night's game to build his confidence (audio).

There have been a lot of questions today about Tuomo Ruutu's injury status (lower body). It was reported by Chip Alexander (N&O game recap) as well as alluded in radio conversations with Chuck Kaiton and John Forslund that Alex Semin, Jeff Skinner, and Tim Gleason could be back in the line-up soon but that Ruutu's status was less clear. Coming off two hip surgeries in less than a year, setback is a concern for Ruutu, who played only 17 games last season.

If there is news coming out of today's pre-game skate regarding any of the injured players, we will post an update.  None of the aforementioned injured players skated with the team this morning, nor did Elias Lindholm.

POST-PRACTICE UPDATE:  Welsh, Bellemore, and Corrente will be the healthy extras tonight.  Ward will start in net but may not play the entire game.  Lindholm and Semin participated in on-ice conditioning work with Rod Brind'Amour after formal practice was over.  Audio from Kirk Muller - [link]

Also a worthwhile game day read, from NHL.com: Hurricanes focused on finding supplemental scoring

The Sabres are also wrapping up their seven-game preseason tonight (game preview via Sabres.com). Here are the lines from the morning skate:

Forwards: Thomas Vanek - Cody Hodgson - Steve Ott;  Brian Flynn - Tyler Ennis - Drew Stafford;  Zemgus Girgensons - Mikhail Grigorenko - Ville Leino;  Kevin Porter - Cody McCormick - Patrick Kaleta

Defense: Christian Ehrhoff - Rasmus Ristolainen;  Henrik Tallinder - Tyler Myers;  Nikita Zadorov - Mark Pysyk

Goal: Ryan Miller was first off the ice so he's assumed to start, Jhonas Enroth will back up.

Joel Armia is out with broken hand, and Corey Tropp is out with a broken jaw.

There is no television coverage for tonight's game. Radio coverage will be available on 99.9 The Fan.

The game thread will open at 6:30 pm. See you at the rink.

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