Carolina Hurricanes vs Winnipeg Jets
February 16, 2016 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
Fox Sports Carolinas - 99.9 FM - WRALSportsFan app
SB Nation Rivals - Arctic Ice Hockey
|Division Rank||6 Metro||7 Central|
|Conference Rank||10 EC||13 WC|
|Last 10 Games||5-3-2||4-6-0|
|Streak||Won 1||Won 1|
|ES Goals For %||47.9%||50.8%|
|ES Corsi For %||52.9%||52.1%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||16.3% (26)||16.1% (28)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||81.0% (15)||77.8% (28)|
|ES Save %||.916||.928|
|ES Save %||.908||.908|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- Now that the Cup anniversary hoopla is behind us (and I mean hoopla in the best possible way, because it really was a blast), the Hurricanes can return their undivided attention back to making a strong showing over the 26 remaining games in the regular season. After playing only four games during the first two weeks in February, they will play eight games (six at home) over the next two weeks leading up to the trade deadline on Feb. 29. Sitting four points out of the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, every game is the most important one from here on out.
- The Canes situation is muddled by injuries to two key players. Justin Faulk has missed two games with a lower body injury suffered in practice last Thursday. Though the team performed well in his absence, special teams have suffered, especially the power play, and the upcoming grind is a big ask out of a young defensive core if their best defenseman is out or less than 100%. Faulk did not practice with the team yesterday but is expected to do so this morning and a decision on his status for tonight will be made from there.
- Less optimistic for tonight is Cam Ward, who left Saturday's game in the second period after suffering a lower body injury. Ward skated yesterday before formal practice but his status was reported by head coach Bill Peters as "more doubtful." Since Jan. 1 Ward's all-situation save percentage (.933) and five-on-five save percentage (.945) have been among the league's best, and the team has a 5-0-4 record in his starts during that stretch, but this is also his second injury since the calendar turned. As of this writing there has been no announced recall to back up Eddie Lack in net tonight, so stay tuned for news in that regard (the Checkers left yesterday for Milwaukee). Update 9:30 am - The Canes have recalled Daniel Altshuller to back up Eddie Lack tonight [link].
- Andrej Nestrasil has been on a tear of late, with goals in two straight games and seven points (4g, 3a) in his last eight games including two goals against tonight's opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, when the teams faced each other eleven nights ago. Nesty is hosting his mother and grandmother in town over the weekend, their first ever visit to watch him play in NHL games. They are due to be here through Wednesday, though the head coach has joked he may have to keep them around a while longer, like perhaps July.
- Congratulations to Joakim Nordstrom who will play in his 100th career NHL game tonight.
- As previously mentioned, the Canes and Jets faced each other just a few nights ago, in Winnipeg on Feb. 5. The Canes got off to a hot start, scoring four goals in the first period and chasing rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck before allowing the Jets back in then prevailing in a 5-3 win that was closer than it needed to be.
- Since that game there are a few changes to the Jets lineup. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has returned after a three-month absence due to a knee injury, and was victorious in his first game back against Edmonton on Saturday. Hellebuyck has been reassigned to the Jets' AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose. In that same game against the Oilers, defenseman Mark Stuart broke his hand (though he finished the game) and will be out for four to six weeks.
- While not a roster change, the Jets also completed a major transaction, inking blueliner Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year, $38 million contract extension. On a random side note, Byfuglien is one of ten players currently on the Jets roster who were with the Atlanta Thrashers for their final season in 2010-11 before relocating to Winnipeg. Contrast that against a Hurricanes roster that only has four players left from November 2011, when current Jets head coach Paul Maurice was relieved as Canes head coach.
- The 2-1 shootout win in Edmonton Saturday was the first game in a four-game road trip for the Jets. They have been impressive on the road this season, winning their last four and posting a 6-1-1 record since the calendar turned to 2016. The Jets practiced in Raleigh yesterday with the lineup listed below. Maurice has not confirmed a starting goaltender but indicated that Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson (who recorded the loss against the Canes on Feb. 5) would get starts on the road trip.
Hurricanes (Updated 2/16 morning skate)
Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Chris Terry - Jay McClement - Riley Nash
Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey
John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin - Michal Jordan
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Justin Faulk (lower body), Cam Ward (lower body), Nathan Gerbe (healthy), Brad Malone (healthy)
Jets (Updated 2/16 morning skate)
Nikolaj Ehlers - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Drew Stafford
Andrew Ladd - Adam Lowry - Joel Armia
Alexander Burmistrov - Andrew Copp - Chris Thorburn
Toby Entrsom - Dustin Bfyfuglien
Ben Chiarot - Tyler Myers
Adam Pardy - Jacob Trouba
Injuries and Scratches: Grant Clitsome (IR), Mark Stuart (broken hand), Anthony Peluso (healthy), Paul Postma (healthy)
- Canes Gameday Hub [CH.com].
- Bill Peters post-practice interview 2/15 [CH.com].
- Second-half surge leaves Ron Francis with tough decisions [SportsNet].
- The time has come for the Canes to start making deals [N&O].
- Nestrasil evolved from waiver claim to key piece [Today's SlapShot].
- Nestrasil plays well in front of family [N&O].
- Spend two minutes in the box with Jaccob Slavin and learn about his greatest fears [CH.com].
- Ladd, Jets teammates try to ignore trade talk [TSN].
- DGB: Wide open playoff field is leading to a seller's market [Vice Sports].
- To cap off the Stanley Cup 10th Anniversary weekend, the Canes held their fifth annual Alumni Fantasy game Sunday, featuring members of the 2005-06 team along with fan participants who paid an entry fee to be part of the roster. Over 4,300 fans were in attendance for the free event, with proceeds benefitting the Kids 'N Community Foundation. There was something for everybody to make this a fun event, from John Forslund's hilarious call of the game, the interactions and interviews with the 2005-06 alumni, the throwback in-arena entertainment, fans standing like it was Game 7 (albeit for only a few minutes this time) and the first-ever victory for Team Red in an 11-8 decision. Read more about it in the Canes recap [CH.com]. To close it out, in a highlight worthy of SportsCenter (yes, it made ESPN's broadcast yesterday), Hurricanes PA announcer and fan participant Wade Minter scored a goal and proceeded to skate to the press box to announce it himself. Now that's living the dream.
[HIGHLIGHT] #Canes PA announcer @minter scored a goal in the #CanesAlumni Game, then took the mic to do his job.https://t.co/TjhI3i27vA— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) February 14, 2016