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Game Day Canes vs Blackhawks

The Canes take on the Blackhawks tonight, and they have a signing to announce, inking goaltender Rasmus Tirronen to an entry-level contract.

Jamie Kellner

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Chicago Blackhawks
March 23, 2015 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 FM The Fan
SB Nation Rival Blog - Second City Hockey

Fancy Stats

Hurricanes Blackhawks
Record 26-35-10 43-22-6
Points 62 92
Division Rank 8th Metro 3rd Central
Conference Rank 14th EC 4th WC
Streak OT 1 Lost 1

Power Play % 19.6% 18.1%
Penalty Kill % 85.2% 85.4%
Goals/Game 2.25 2.73
Goals Against/Game 2.66 2.24
Shots/Game 30.4 34.1
Shots Against/Game 27.4 29.9
ES Goals For % 43.0% 53.3%
ES Corsi For % 52.0% 53.7%
ES PDO 97.1 100.2
PIM/Game 7.1 7.4

Goaltender Ward Crawford
Record 18-21-5 29-15-5
ES Save Percentage .914 .929
GAA 2.44 2.21

Goaltender Khudobin Darling
Record 8-14-5 7-3-0
ES Save Percentage .903 .923
GAA 2.64 1.96

Stats via and War on Ice

Game Notes

  • What was once a foregone conclusion is now fact: as of this weekend's action, the Carolina Hurricanes have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. With that said, there are eleven games remaining for the Canes to finish out their 2014-15 season, and tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks is one of them.
  • The Canes have earned at least a point in 12 out of their last 15 games against the Blackhawks, but they didn't fare well when they faced them in Chicago three weeks ago, on the evening after the trade deadline. The Hawks took advantage of an uninspired effort by the Canes in a 5-2 rout (it really wasn't that close) led by a three-point night for captain Jonathan Toews.
  • Since the trade deadline the Canes have a 2-5-3 record in their last 10 games, seven of them played in the friendly confines of PNC Arena, including their most recent, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Rangers. Tonight's game is the second of a five-game home stand.
  • The Canes didn't practice on Sunday, and chances are that going into tonight's game, Bill Peters' experimentation with line combinations will continue because why not. Stay tuned for updates after the morning skate. Anton Khudobin has started the last four games for the Canes and was stellar in net in the shootout loss to the Rangers, but Cam Ward may get a look tonight if he's back up to speed after dealing with an illness. Ward is 3-1-2 against the Blackhawks with a 1.72 GAA and two shutouts.
  • The Blackhawks are in a tight competitive battle for playoff home ice in the Western Conference. They currently sit third in the Central Division, five points out of the top spot, but hot on their trail are the Wild and the Jets, five and six points back with four intra-divisional games remaining.
  • The Hawks had a four-game win streak snapped on Saturday night when they were shut out for the eighth time this season in a 4-0 loss to the Stars in Dallas. Tonight they are playing their third game of a four-game road trip.
  • Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in scoring with 64 points, but he's still out of the line-up, on injured reserve and recovering from a broken clavicle. In his absence, the players to watch include the aforementioned captain Toews (go ahead and book him for a score as he's sitting on 499 career NHL regular season points) and noted Canes-killer Marian Hossa with 53 points this season (21g, 32a) and 56 points in 52 career games against the Canes.
  • If the Blackhawks prevail tonight it will be head coach Joel Quenneville's 750th career regular-season win.

Projected line-ups

Hurricanes (from Saturday's game)

Eric Staal - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin
Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Danny Biega
Ryan Murphy - Brett Bellemore

Anton Khudobin
Cam Ward

Injuries and Scratches: Jack Hillen (concussion), Rasmus Rissanen (MCL), Brad Malone, Michal Jordan

Blackhawks (from Saturday's game):

Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad - Antoine Vermette - Teuvo Teravainen
Bryan Bickell - Brad Richards - Kris Versteeg
Joakim Nordstrom - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Kimmo Timonen - Brent Seabrook
Duncan Keith - Michal Rozsival
Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Corey Crawford
Scott Darling

Injuries and Scratches: Patrick Kane (IR clavicle fracture), Daniel Carcillo, Andrew Desjardins, David Rundblad

Canes Sign Tirronen

A bit of breaking news: Last evening the Hurricanes announced that they have added goaltending depth to the organization, signing 24-year-old Finnish goaltender Rasmus Tirronen to a one-year entry-level contract. Tirronen just completed his senior season at Merrimack College where he was the recipient of several honors and was instrumental in the Hockey East playoffs. According to SBNation College Hockey, "Tirronen was a stalwart in net for the Warriors, helping to carry an offensively-challenged club."

From the Press Release:

RALEIGH, NC - Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Rasmus Tirronen on a one-year, entry-level contract. The deal will pay Tirronen $575,000 on the NHL level or $65,000 in the minor leagues.

"Rasmus had an outstanding senior season for Merrimack," said Francis. "He's a big presence in the net and we look forward to following his development next season."
Tirronen, 24, went 12-14-3 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .929 save percentage during his senior season for Merrimack College in 2014-15. The Espoo, Finland, native was named to the Hockey East All-Star Honorable Mention squad as well as the All-HEBWA (Hockey East Broadcasters and Writers Association) Second Team. Tirronen was also named Hockey East's Goaltender of the Month in October, and earned Defensive Player of the Week honors three times. He matched a school record with 63 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory at Northeastern on March 7, helping the Warriors sweep their Hockey East playoff series against the Huskies. Merrimack was eliminated by No. 3 Boston University last weekend, despite Tirronen making 90 saves in the two games of the series.
Tirronen (6'3", 200 lbs.) went 22-34-8 with a 2.45 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 68 career collegiate games for Merrimack. Prior to beginning his college career, he went 24-9-0 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .908 save percentage during one season with Topeka of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).