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- The Canes put in about as bad an effort as they could muster when they faced the Wild at Xcel Energy Center a couple of weeks ago. It was not the return Anton Khudobin anticipated as he faced his former team, giving up five goals on 23 shots. The Hurricanes went down 3-0 in the first period and to their credit fought back, but eventually succumbed in a 6-3 loss. They'll have a chance to atone for it tonight in front of their home fans, where they are 14-11-3 for the season and 8-3-1 in 2015, including wins in their last three home games. The Canes have 11 home games in March including their next five.
- The Canes haven't played since Monday, suffering a similar 5-2 defeat to the Blackhawks in Chicago. After an off-day Tuesday, Bill Peters got the blender out and mixed up all kinds of different forward line combinations, not so much to formalize a new line-up, but more to give the team a good workout and get in some extra teaching. With 20 games remaining in the season, the March schedule is home ice-centric but dense, so time for lengthy practices will be limited.
- Rasmus Rissanen has earned a call-up and could see his NHL debut tonight. If so, he will be the first player selected by the Hurricanes in the 2009 draft to suit up for the team (thanks to Cory for that bit of trivia). Rissanen signed an entry level contract with the Hurricanes in 2011, and has posted a career high in points (11) this season. Understandably excited about the opportunity, Rissanen spoke with Michael Smith earlier this week for the Hurricanes Tracking the Storm blog.
- Ryan Murphy continues to practice with the team but his return date is still unknown. He skated yesterday paired with Michal Jordan, who is the likely scratch if Rissanen is in.
- Andrej Nestrasil and Nathan Gerbe are streaking with points in three straight games.
- Listed below is the latest line-up from yesterday's practice and we'll pass along any updates to the (real) line-up, including a starting goaltender, from the morning skate at 10:30 am.
- The Wild are playing the back end of a back-to-back series tonight. They were in action last night in the Nation's Capital and came from behind for a 2-1 win over Washington, with Jason Pominville tallying two third period goals.
- The Wild have won their last four games and their 15-2-1 record since the NHL All-Star break is the league's best. That record has moved them into the first wild card slot in the Western Conference, and four points behind Chicago for the third spot in the Central Division.
- Forward Nino Niederreiter was a late scratch last night with a lower body injury and is considered day-to-day. Jordan Schroeder took his place in the line-up.
- Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has started every game since joining the Wild on January 14th and has a 17-3-1 record. Last night was his 22nd straight start and he made 24 saves on 25 shots in the winning effort. If Dubnyk finally gets a rest tonight, Darcy Kuemper will likely get the start.
- Noted Canes killers include Thomas Vanek, with 35 points in 32 games including two goals and an assist in the February win, and Justin Fontaine and Mikael Granlund, each with three points in their last three against the Canes.
Hurricanes (from Thursday's practice)
Injuries and Scratches: Ryan Murphy (IR leg)
Wild (from Thursday's game):
Injuries and Scratches: Matt Cooke (IR sports hernia), Ryan Carter (IR shoulder), Keith Ballard (IR concussion), Jason Zucker (IR broken clavicle), Jared Spurgeon (upper body), Marco Scandella (undisclosed), Nino Niederreiter (lower body), Darcy Kuemper
For those in the area, the Hurricanes are in the middle of a Military Appreciation Drive. During business hours and at the doors at tonight's game, the Canes will be collecting toiletry items to be sent to the USO. Fans that donate are eligible to receive prizes including player-signed merchandise. More details are available on the Hurricanes Promotions page.