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Game Day Hurricanes vs. Capitals: Lonely Boy Edition

Sasha, have mercy on me. You're the only one, but these are strange times, and this same old thing has become a bullet in the brain. You're sinking faster than a little black submarine. It's giving me a fever. I'm going to turn blue holding my breath. It's up to you now. Find your touch. Your magic potion. Be the go getter. Tighten up, attack and release, and throw a little gold on the ceiling. Time for you to have a hell of a season so I can keep howlin' for you.

Carolina Hurricanes vs Washington Capitals
December 4, 2014 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 FM The Fan
SB Nation Rival Blog - Japers' Rink

Fancy Stats

Hurricanes Capitals
Record 8-13-3 10-10-4
Points 19 24
Division Rank 6th Metro 4th Metro
Conference Rank 14th EC 11th EC
Streak Won 1 Lost 2
Power Play % 21.5% 28.4%
Penalty Kill % 83.3% 74.7%
Goals/Game 2.33 2.79
Goals Against/Game 2.79 2.79
Shots/Game 29.4 30.2
Shots Against/Game 28.7 27.3
ES Goals For % 43.0% 47.2%
ES Corsi For % 51.8% 51.7%
PIM/Game 8.1 10.1
Goaltender Ward Holtby
Record 8-8-1 8-7-3
ES Save Percentage .915 .918
GAA 2.48 2.50
Goaltender Khudobin Peters
Record 0-5-2 2-3-1
ES Save Percentage .898 .899
GAA 2.98 3.28

Stats via and War on Ice

Game Notes

  • The Hurricanes started out their week playing a team that used to be coached by Barry Trotz. Tonight they'll face his current team as the Washington Capitals come to town.
  • This is the second of four games this season between the Metro rivals and the first at PNC Arena, where the Caps have won the last four in a row here. They also took the first match-up in DC with a 4-3 overtime win on November 8th with old pal and ex-Cane Justin Peters in net.
  • The Caps are an up and down team, with bright spots yet troubling inconsistency. They've lost their last two games and four out of their last five. They are 9-1-1 when scoring first, but in the last four losses they failed to lead at any point in the game. They are lethal on the power play (second in the league at 28.4%) yet anemic on the penalty kill (next to last at 74.7%), and they've given up six power play goals in the last two games. The Canes would be wise to limit their penalties tonight, and they need to capitalize (pun intended) when they get the man advantage.
  • Andrej Sekera did not practice yesterday, after making a hell of a shot block in the waning seconds of Tuesday night's game against the Predators. Coach Bill Peters said he expected Reggie to be in tonight's line-up, but was not 100% certain. He'll be evaluated today.
  • Peters intends to go with the hot goalie in net again tonight, but Cam Ward didn't practice yesterday after saying he felt a little soreness, which may mean it's time to turn to Anton Khudobin.
  • On November 10th, Jeff Skinner became the fourth youngest player in Hurricanes history to reach 100 goals. He's now two points shy of 200 NHL career points coming into tonight's game.
  • And then there's Alexander Semin, who faces his former team with no goals for the season and pointless in his last seven, showing flashes of his brilliance but more often than not, hesitant and indecisive play. So the conundrum of what to do about Sasha wages on: bench him, waive him, trade him, give him a heart transplant, buy him out. In an ESPN Insider article that made the rounds yesterday, Rob Vollman offered an excellent in-depth analysis of what Semin brings to the table for a team that might be interested in pursuing his talents. The article is behind a paywall, but some of the key points were 1) He's a puck-possession monster, and even when he isn't scoring his line will see an uptick in points, 2) he's a calculated risk for a number of teams, ideally the team would have a center capable of maximizing his scoring potential, 3) his former team would be better with him on the roster, 4) he could likely make an immediate impact in Columbus or San Jose, but most importantly 5) no one needs Alex Semin more than the Hurricanes do. He's stuck at 499 career points. It would be nice to see number 500 (and then some) tonight against his former team.
  • The Capitals will start their three-game road trip with Mike Green present with the team, but he didn't practice with the team yesterday and won't be in the line-up tonight, after suffering an upper body injury that has kept him out since November 22.
  • John Carlson had a career high three point (two goal) game in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Carlson is riding a three-game point streak, leads Washington in time on ice and ranks second in assists (14), and is tied for sixth in the NHL among defensemen in points (18) and assists.
  • In terms of jinxes, streaks, milestones, and whatnot... Alex Ovechkin is one game-winning goal away from breaking Peter Bondra's Caps record (73). Brooks Laich is one point shy of 300 NHL points, and Joel Ward is one point shy of 200. Noted Canes killer Nicklas Backstrom (he of the overtime game winner on November 8) has assists in six straight games.

Projected line-ups

Hurricanes (from yesterday's practice)

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Andrej Nestrasil
Zach Boychuk - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer
Brad Malone

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
Tim Gleason - Michal Jordan
Ron Hainsey - John-Michael Liles
Jay Harrison

Cam Ward
Anton Khudobin

Injuries: Jordan Staal (IR broken fibula), Brett Bellemore (IR lower body)

Capitals (from yesterday's practice)

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Troy Brouwer
Brooks Laich - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward
Jason Chimera - Andre Burakovsky - Jay Beagle

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt - Jack Hillen

Braden Holtby
Justin Peters

Good seats are still available for tonight's game. If you can't be there in person, be a digital witness and join our game thread at 6:30 pm.