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Game Day Canes vs Sabres

Well, it's not quite the Winter Classic or the Stadium Series or Rivalry Night, but it is a race for hotly-contested draft position.

NHL All-Star Zemgus Girgensons fires the puck past Cam Ward for a 4-3 Sabres shootout win on October 14, 2014.
NHL All-Star Zemgus Girgensons fires the puck past Cam Ward for a 4-3 Sabres shootout win on October 14, 2014.
Jamie Kellner

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Buffalo Sabres
January 8, 2015 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 FM The Fan
SB Nation Rival Blog - Die By The Blade

Fancy Stats

Hurricanes Sabres
Record 12-24-4 14-24-3
Points 28 31
Division Rank 8th Metro 8th Atlantic
Conference Rank 16th EC 15th EC
Streak Lost 1 Lost 5

Power Play % 17.9% 9.7%
Penalty Kill % 86.1% 75.0%
Goals/Game 1.92 1.76
Goals Against/Game 2.55 3.39
Shots/Game 29.2 23.3
Shots Against/Game 27.7 35.3
ES Goals For % 40.5% 38.5%
ES Corsi For % 51.0% 37.6%
ES PDO 96.8 99.6
PIM/Game 7.8 12.8

Goaltender Ward Enroth
Record 10-16-2 11-14-2
ES Save Percentage .916 .921
GAA 2.37 3.13

Goaltender Khudobin Neuvirth
Record 2-8-2 3-10-1
ES Save Percentage .905 .923
GAA 2.55 3.46

Stats via and War on Ice

Game Notes

  • Editorial Note: This is a preview for a game between the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference. To be honest, I didn't find a lot interesting to write about that directly related to the game itself. So there's a little bit about the game, then some other random stuff I wanted to write about instead.
  • About tonight's opponent: The Buffalo Sabres are in 28th place in the NHL, but statistically speaking, they are dead last in almost all categories, some by quite a wide margin. They have lost five straight games and are 1-8-1 in their last 10. Their last game was a 4-1 loss to the Devils Tuesday night. They practiced at PNC yesterday, and the depth chart as they skated yesterday is listed below. Drew Stafford missed Tuesday's game and yesterday's practice celebrating the birth of a child, but he is expected back today and the lines will shift accordingly.
  • The Canes didn't practice yesterday so there won't be any updates to tonight's line-up until after the morning skate, which you can watch live [here].
  • The Canes did make two roster moves yesterday, placing Zach Boychuk and Michal Jordan on waivers for purposes of reassigning to the Charlotte Checkers if they clear. Boychuk had been a healthy scratch for the last two games, and Jordan for the last three.
  • The roster moves were necessary due to the imminent return of both John-Michael Liles (illness) and Andrej Nestrasil (upper body) to the line-up, perhaps as early as today. With a full 23-man roster, two players had to be moved in order for Liles and Nestrasil to be activated from injured reserve.
  • There have been some questions floating around as to Alexander Semin's current status. Semin is not on injured reserve. He missed games in late December due to an upper body injury but was never moved to injured reserve. As of the Flyers game on January 2nd he was medically cleared and moved to healthy scratch status where he has remained for the last three games. If/when he returns back to the line-up, another roster move is not necessary because he is already counted as part of the 23-man squad. (Update: Semin will dress and play on a line with Riley Nash and Jeff Skinner. John-Michael Liles will also return to the lineup. Brett Bellemore will sit.)
  • A point to ponder regarding Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Predators.... The Preds played in their 39th game of the season and the win gave them 56 points. Through 40 games played, The Canes have 28 points and are on pace for 57 points for the SEASON.
  • Stick tap to Jim "Boomer" Gordon for digging up some interesting Canes stats for his NHL Network Radio show yesterday (for those unfamiliar, Boomer is a regular follower of the Canes and holds the opinion that the Canes are actually a team playing better than what the record shows). The Canes have lost a lot of close games, as everyone knows, but the disparity against the other teams is rather strong. The Canes have lost 13 games by one goal in regulation (not including 4 OT/shootout losses). That's five more one-goal losses than any other team in the league (CGY/CHI/OTT each have eight). The Canes also lead the league in number of losses (12) where they have out-shot their opponent. The Canes are 18th in shots taken (1168) but 29th in goals (77). That equates to a collective save percentage against the Canes of .934. Analysis: Sometimes it's just not your year (unless there's a really good draft pick as the outcome).
  • Josh Cooper of Puck Daddy caught up with elder statesman Henry Staal and two of his sons during the Canes' father's trip to Nashville. It's a must read for anyone who is a fan of the Staals, or anyone who is a parent, for that matter. [Puck Daddy]
  • Prospects Lucas Wallmark (SWE) and Sergey Tolchinsky (RUS) represented the Canes proudly with great performances at the World Junior Championship, which ended on Monday. Tolchinsky brought home the silver medal after the Russians rallied to give Team Canada a scare in the finals, with Canada prevailing 5-4 (Slovakia defeated Sweden for the bronze). Tolchinsky logged four goals and an assist in the tournament, including one power play goal and two game-winners. Wallmark also logged four goals and was named one of the top three Swedish players by tournament coaches. []
  • Side note regarding the World Juniors, were the Canes intentionally trolling the fans on Tuesday's broadcast? [Link]
  • The AHL has announced their roster for the AHL All-Star Game (January 25-26 in Utica, NY) and Ryan Murphy has been selected to represent the Checkers. Murphy is tied for the lead in scoring for Charlotte with 17 points (all assists), and leads the team in power-play assists (7).
  • I hope everyone fared better than me at keeping their New Year's resolutions.
  • Oh, and good seats are still available for tonight's game.

Projected line-ups

Hurricanes depth chart (from Tuesday's game)

Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Jiri Tlusty
Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin Chris Terry
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
Ron Hainsey - John Michael Liles Brett Bellemore
Tim Gleason - Ryan Murphy

Cam Ward
Anton Khudobin

Injuries and Scratches: Andrej Nestrasil (IR upper body), John-Michael Liles (IR illness), Alexander Semin (healthy) Chris Terry (healthy), Brett Bellemore (healthy)

Sabres depth chart (from Wednesday's practice)

Matt Moulson - Zemgus Girgensons - Tyler Ennis
Brian Flynn - Philip Varone - Chris Stewart
Cody Hodgson - Mikhail Grigorenko - Nicolas Deslauriers
Cody McCormick - Tim Schaller - Patrick Kaleta
Drew Stafford
Josh Gorges - Tyler Myers
Nikita Zadorov - Rasmus Ristolainen
Mike Weber - Tyson Strachan
Andre Benoit - Andrej Meszaros

Jhonas Enroth
Michal Neuvirth

Injuries and Scratches: Torrey Mitchell (IR lower body), Marcus Foligno (IR hand), Brian Gionta (upper body)