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Hurricanes vs Blackhawks: Preview

The Canes wrap up their final game before the All-Star break looking for a repeat win against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Kris Versteeg was the Canes first star and the NHL's second star with 2 goals in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Flames.
Kris Versteeg was the Canes first star and the NHL's second star with 2 goals in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Flames.
Jamie Kellner

Carolina Hurricanes vs Chicago Blackhawks
January 26, 2016 - 7:30 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
NBC Sports - 99.9 FM - WRALSportsFan app
SB Nation Rivals - Second City Hockey

Vital Statistics

Hurricanes Blackhawks
Record 22-20-8 33-15-4
Points 52 70
Division Rank 6 Metro 1 Central
Conference Rank 12 EC 1 WC
Last 10 Games 6-3-1 8-2-0
Streak Won 1 Won 1

Goals/Game 2.36 2.81
Goals Against/Game 2.68 2.25
ES Goals For % 45.0% 50.6%
Shots/Game 29.9 30.6
Shots Against/Game 26.5 30.4
ES Corsi For % 53.0% 51.2%
Faceoff % 53.6% 49.7%
ES PDO 97.8 99.9
Power Play % (Rank) 16.9% (29) 22.1% (3)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 82.0% (11) 82.4% (9)
PIM/Game 06:26 06:56

Goaltender #1 Ward (IR) Crawford
Record 14-11-5 28-11-2
ES Save % .911 .937
GAA 2.42 2.08

Goaltender #2 Lack Darling
Record 8-9-3 5-4-2
ES Save % .905 .918
GAA 2.81 2.59

*Stats from and War on Ice

Game Notes

  • Perhaps no two teams are more ready for the All-Star break than the Hurricanes and the Blackhawks. Chicago has played the most games (52) of any NHL team, and their 14 games played in January (spread across only 24 days) is a league high as well. The Hurricanes are the only team in the Eastern Conference to hit the 50-game mark, and they did so playing 13 games (second most for January) in 25 days, including five separate road trips and travel across three time zones.
  • The Canes surprised everyone when they defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions on Dec. 27. Eddie Lack was three seconds away from his first shutout as a Hurricane when Brent Seabrook spoiled things with a late goal for a final score of 2-1. Justin Faulk and Victor Rask scored for the Canes and Lack saved 35 of 36 in one of his season's best performances.
  • Since that game, the Blackhawks rattled off 12 consecutive wins, a franchise record. Their win streak was snapped with two losses on a road trip to Florida last week, but they rebounded with a 2-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at home on Sunday. Corey Crawford tallied his seventh shutout of the season, a league best, and he has the second-most wins (28) behind Braden Holtby. Patrick Kane leads the league in goals (30) and points (73), and his linemate Artemi Panirin does the same for rookies with 17 goals and 46 points. The Blackhawks 70 points is second-best behind the Capitals and leads the Western Conference.
  • The Hawks have made a number of recent roster moves. On Jan. 3 they picked up Richard Panik from the Leafs in exchange for Jeremy Morin, and on Jan. 21 they acquired Jiri Sekac from the Ducks in exchange for Ryan Garbutt. Bryan Bickell was waived and then reassigned to the Rockford Ice Hogs, and yesterday Mark McNeill was recalled after it was learned that Sekac would not be available for today's game due to illness. If McNeill is in the lineup today, it will mark his NHL debut.
  • Speaking of Chicago's roster moves, one that has paid dividends for the Hurricanes is the trade with Chicago that brought in Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom prior to training camp (for prospects and picks going back the other way). Nordstrom has been a staple on a line with Jordan Staal and Andrej Nestrasil that has excelled in puck possession and penalty killing, and he is on a two-game goal scoring streak. Versteeg claimed first star honors in the arena Sunday, and second star league honors, for his two-goal performance against the Flames, including the game-winner in the 5-2 win. Versteeg now leads all Canes forwards with 30 points (second behind only Justin Faulk) and he is tied with Eric Staal for the most assists (20).
  • There may be a few lineup changes forthcoming today. Brett Pesce did not practice with the team yesterday, as he continues to recover from a lower body concern. Head coach Bill Peters did not rule Pesce for tonight, saying he may be able to play if needed. After missing two games due to illness, Riley Nash practiced with the team and appears available to return. Eddie Lack is set to get his fifth straight start in net, backed up by Daniel Altshuller. Cam Ward participated in a partial practice with the team yesterday, his first since being diagnosed with a concussion, and is expected to be cleared to play after the All-Star break.
  • Tonight's game is on the NBC Sports national broadcast, so note the slightly later start time (7:30 pm). PNC Arena doors will open at their usual time, 6:00 pm.

Projected Lineups

Hurricanes (1/24 vs Flames)

Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Brad Malone
Nathan Gerbe

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk 
John-Michael Liles - Jaccob Slavin
Noah Hanifin - Michal Jordan

Eddie Lack
Daniel Altshuller

Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Cam Ward (IR concussion), Riley Nash (illness), Brett Pesce (lower body)

Blackhawks (1/24 vs Blues)

Andrew Shaw - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Andrew Desjardins - Phillip Danault - Tuevo Teravainen
Brandon Mashinter - Dennis Rasmussen - Richard Panik
Mark McNeill

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brent Seabrook
Erik Gustafsson - Michal Rozsival
Rob Scuderi

Corey Crawford
Scott Darling

Injuries and Scratches: Marcus Kruger (IR wrist), Jiri Sekac (illness)

Storm Debris

  • Canes Gameday Hub [].
  • Bill Peters media scrum post-practice 1/25 [].
  • Blackhawks game preview [].
  • Hurricanes notebook from 1/25 practice: Ward returns, Versteeg and Nordstrom talk about facing their former team [].
  • Versteeg is set to meet his old team [N&O].
  • Should Versteeg be a part of the Canes future? [Cardiac Cane].
  • Eric Staal isn't done yet, just how good is he right now? [SportsNet].
  • The NHL, in conjunction with MLB Advanced Media, is redesigning its digital platforms and will start rolling out changes this weekend [].
  • Former Hurricane Erik Cole joined Sunday's broadcast to reminisce the Stanley cup season and share his impressions on the current roster [].
  • They grow up so fast... CanesVision goes all out at yesterday's practice to wish Noah Hanifin a happy 19th birthday [].
  • Finally, Justin Faulk talks All-Star game and does a little jersey modeling.