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Hurricanes at Sabres: Preview

Murphy assigned to Charlotte, Gleason calls it quits, Eichifin Round One begins tonight in Buffalo.

Carolina Hurricanes at Buffalo Sabres
November 27, 2015 - 7:00 pm ET
First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY
Fox Sports Carolinas - 99.9 FM - WRALSportsFan app
SB Nation Rivals - Die By The Blade

Vital Statistics

Hurricanes Sabres
Record 8-10-4 8-12-2
Points 20 18
Division Rank 6th Metro 8th Atlantic
Conference Rank 12th EC 15th EC
Last 10 Games 3-3-4 3-5-2
Streak Won 1 Lost 3

Goals/Game 2.09 2.05
Goals Against/Game 2.77 2.68
ES Goals For % 41.8% 40.9%
Shots/Game 30.6 30.1
Shots Against/Game 25.6 28.3
ES Corsi For % 53.9% 49.8%
Faceoff % 53.9% 50.5%
ES PDO 96.5 97.2
Power Play % (Rank) 13.3% (30) 20.0% (12)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 76.0% (26) 75.0% (28)
PIM/Game 05:38 07:08

Goaltender #1 Ward Ullmark
Record 7-6-3 4-5-1
ES Save % .912 .922
GAA 2.35 2.51

Goaltender #2 Lack Johnson
Record 1-4-1 4-7-1
ES Save % .890 .919
GAA 3.30 2.58

*Stats from and War on Ice

Business first, as the Canes made two relevant team announcements yesterday.

  • Ryan Murphy, sidelined since November 14th with a concussion, was assigned to the Charlotte Checkers yesterday. Murphy completed a full practice with the Canes yesterday and apparently has been cleared from concussion protocol and is now eligible to return to play. He is expected to be in the Checkers lineup on Saturday. [Press release from]
  • Former Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason has formally ended his professional tryout with the Canes, effective yesterday. Gleason signed a PTO with the Canes on November 18th and has been participating in team practices. According to general manager Ron Francis, "He looked and felt good physically but didn't feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally. We wish Tim and his family nothing but the best." []

Game Notes

  • The Canes and Sabres meet tonight for their first game in a three-game series this season. The Canes were 1-1-1 against the Sabres last season.
  • Only two 2015 first round draftees are currently playing in the NHL, and they'll face each other tonight. Jack Eichel (2nd overall) and Noah Hanifin (5th overall) were teammates in the US National Team Development Program and 2014-15 World Juniors, and NCAA Division I opponents (along with Brett Pesce) in Hockey East. Hanifin, the youngest player in the NHL, has been lauded for skill and maturity uncommon in a young defenseman, scored his first NHL goal on November 16th, and has most recently been awarded a spot on the Canes first power play unit. Eichel is off to a phenomenal start with the Sabres, already a standout at age nineteen with highlight reel goals that command the attention of his opponents. His seven goals tie him for the team high (for comparison, he's outscored everyone on the Canes roster not named Justin Faulk).
  • Speaking of Faulk, his seven-game points streak (3g, 5a) is a record for a Canes defenseman since the team relocated to Raleigh. Elias Lindholm (3 games) and John-Michael Liles (2 games) also have point streaks. Eric Staal is a point-per-game player against the Sabres with 40 points (15g, 25a) in 40 career games.
  • After being shut out by the Rangers on November 10th, the Canes have earned points in six out of their last seven games.
  • The team practiced in Raleigh yesterday before a quick Thanksgiving dinner and evening trip to Buffalo. There were no changes to the forward lines or defensive pairings from Wednesday's game, and the team reported that Cam Ward is scheduled to get the start in net again tonight.
  • After starting November with five wins in six games, the Sabres are now on a six-game winless streak (though all six losses have been to top-ranked Western Conference teams) and are 2-6-1 in their last nine games played at First Niagara Center. Several of their players have been dinged up and the line-up has been in a state of flux. The team did not practice yesterday so there may be several changes coming out of today's pregame skate.
  • Ryan O'Reilly leads the Sabres with 17 points and is tied with Jack Eichel for the scoring lead with seven goals. Matt Moulson has 22 points (8g, 14a) in 22 career games against the Canes. Linus Ullmark has been the starting goaltender for the last two games and four of the last five. Ullmark has never faced the Canes in his career; Chad Johnson is 4-1-0 with a 2.41 GAA in five career appearances.

Projected Lineups

Hurricanes (from Thursday's practice)

Eric Staal - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Kris Versteeg
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Chris Terry

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk 
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin

Cam Ward
Eddie Lack

Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Nathan Gerbe (ankle), Michal Jordan (healthy)

Sabres (from Wednesday's game)

Evander Kane - Ryan O'Reilly - Brian Gionta
Johan Larsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart
Matt Moulson -  Zemgus GirgensonsJamie McGinn
Marcus FolignoDavid LegwandNicolas Deslauriers

Josh GorgesRasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabeZach Bogosian
Carlo ColaiacovoCody Franson

Linus Ullmark
Chad Johnson

Injuries and Scratches: Mark Pysyk (lower body), Mike Weber (knee), Robin Lehner (ankle), Cody McCormick (blood clot), Tyler Ennis (upper body), Tim Schaller (healthy)

Storm Debris

  • Canes Gameday Hub []
  • Hurricanes put in practice on Thanksgiving Day [N&O].
  • Canes Corner Podcast: A feast of questions for the Canes from John Forslund and Mike Maniscalco [WRALSportsFan]
  • Eric Staal accepts uncertainty while his contract remains unsettled [N&O].
  • Jordan Staal joined Leafs Lunch yesterday to talk about the Stick It To Cancer charity auction and shares some insight on his head coach and rookie teammate [TSN].
  • League's youngest player Noah Hanifin learning quickly on the job [Edmonton Journal].
  • SBNation's Habs blog reported on prospects in the Swedish Hockey League. Canes prospect Lucas Wallmark represnted well [Eyes on the Prize].
  • Justin Faulk scores goals and gains attention [N&O].
  • Ten reasons for Sabres fans to be thankful this Thanksgiving [Die By The Blade].
  • Finally, a new line combination at yesterday's practice. Youth is served.