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Canes vs Caps at PNC Arena: Preview

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It's about time for some hockey here at PNC Arena. Eric Staal is back at center, and Eddie Lack gets the start in net.

Eddie Lack was perfect through 2 periods against the Caps on 9/21, and he'll get the start in net again tonight.
Eddie Lack was perfect through 2 periods against the Caps on 9/21, and he'll get the start in net again tonight.
Jamie Kellner


Carolina Hurricanes (2-2-0) vs. Washington Capitals (3-0-1)
September 30, 2015 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - n/a
Radio - WRALSportsFan.com website and mobile app
SB Nation Rival Blog - Japers Rink

Game Notes

  • Preseason hockey is finally HERE, and by here, I mean here at PNC Arena, where fans can actually watch a game in person instead of being relegated to a radio stream or blacked-out television broadcast. The Canes wrap up their six-game exhibition schedule with two games on their home turf, playing host to the Capitals tonight and the Penguins Friday night.
  • The Canes and Caps met a week ago Monday to kick off the preseason. Eddie Lack was perfect in net for two periods, stopping all 22 shots he faced, but the Caps were able to get two past Drew MacIntyre in the third and kept the Canes off the score sheet for a 2-0 win. Though it didn't count in the preseason record books, Kris Versteeg scored less than a minute into a league-mandated 3-on-3 overtime exhibition following the regulation win, tapping in a pass from Eric Staal.
  • Versteeg and Staal will be reunited tonight, with the captain returning to center after spending a few games at wing. That's the way the team practiced this week, and in addition to continuing to shuffle the forward lines, head coach Bill Peters has focused on the power play, looking to improve "tempo, pace, and zone time."  (Note: No power play units were reported at this morning's pregame skate, but this is how they lined up yesterday: Eric Staal - Kris Versteeg - Elias Lindholm - Victor Rask - Justin Faulk on the first power play unit and Jordan Staal - Jeff Skinner - Nathan Gerbe - Ryan Murphy - John-Michael Liles on the second).
  • Tonight's lineup has not been finalized (game notes from Capitals PR are the closest we have). Lines are posted below as the team practiced yesterday and will be updated after the morning skate as far as actual roster and scratches. Peters stated that Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce will be in tonight's lineup on defense, and Eddie Lack is scheduled to go the full 60 minutes in net. He also expects newcomer Joakim Nordstrom, who arrived late to camp due to visa issues, to play in both remaining games. James Wisniewski has not practiced in the last two days, resting a minor groin injury, and his status for tonight is unknown.
  • By the way, Jaccob Slavin is probably not in tonight's lineup, but Peters has given the young defenseman much praise, calling his work in training camp "outstanding" and comparing his preseason and performance in Traverse City to that of Victor Rask a year ago. Rask of course went on to make the opening night roster.
  • UPDATE 11:30 am: Ron Hainsey was projected to play tonight but is being held out due to a minor injury. Slavin will take his place alongside Justin Faulk.
  • The Capitals have 24 players listed on their travel roster, but after sending four players to Hershey yesterday, their overall roster still sits at 32 with two games remaining after tonight. Based on yesterday's practice, Canes fans should expect to see old pal Justin Williams on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov tonight. Marcus Johansson and Michael Latta have been out with nagging injuries but are expected to be back in the lineup. The Caps are bringing their top two forward lines and five out of their top six defensemen, so expect an experienced lineup. Braden Holtby is probable in net with ex-Cane Justin Peters backing up.
  • This game will only go to 3-on-3 overtime if the score dictates it, as this game is not included in the league mandate for exhibition overtime.

Storm Debris (random news clips)

  • Game previews  [CH.com] [Monumental].
  • Bill Peters Post-Practice Media Scrum yesterday [CH.com] and [updated] today [CH.com].
  • In case you haven't heard, Eric Staal may or may not want $9m on his new deal. What does that mean regarding his intentions to stay in Carolina? [NHL on NBC] [Canes and Coffee].
  • And will Staal's contract situation (along with that of Cam Ward) be a motivation or a distraction? [WRALSportsFan]
  • Versteeg and Nordstrom are ready to help the Canes get to the next level [N&O].
  • Bodog's odds are out for postseason NHL awards, and there's no, ah, Hanifin listed in the Calder odds. But that's okay, it's not like a Canes player ever wins, or a defenseman [Bodog].
  • Rumor has it that the Canes may be considering a new goal song this season. Section 328 says it shouldn't be one of these [Section 328].
  • BTW, if you want to hate on tonight's rival, don't click these 75 photos of Caps players with puppies [RMNB].
  • Finally, if you're at the game tonight, check out Chris Edge, of New Rock 95X, who was announced yesterday as the Canes new in-game host.

Lineups

Hurricanes (updated 11:30 am from morning skate)

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

Jaccob Slavin - Justin Faulk
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Michal Jordan

Eddie Lack
Cam Ward

Capitals (updated 10:30 am from morning skate)

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Marcus Johansson - Andre Burakovsky - T.J. Oshie
Jason Chimera - Chandler Stephenson - Stanislav Galiev
Brooks Laich - Michael Latta - Sean Collins

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt - Taylor Chorney
Ryan Stanton - Connor Carrick

Braden Holtby
Justin Peters