|Division Rank||7 Metro||6 Central|
|Conference Rank||11 EC||9 WC|
|Last 10 Games||3-4-3||5-4-1|
|Streak||Lost 1||Lost 1|
|ES Goals For %||45.9%||51.9%|
|ES Corsi For %||52.1%||48.0%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||17.1% (23)||19.3% (13)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||83.5% (8)||77.0% (28)|
|ES Save %||.914||.929|
|ES Save %||.908||.918|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- Many times, hard work can overcome talent, but unfortunately for the Canes, Thursday night was not one of those times, as the Pittsburgh Penguins rather easily overcame an early 2-0 deficit to manhandle them in a 4-2 defeat. And with the loss, the cold slap of reality hit the Canes players and their fans that a miracle run to the post-season was not to be again this year. Though mathematical elimination won't happen for a few more games, the odds of the Canes making the playoffs are now less than the odds Middle Tennessee could knock Michigan State out of the first round of the NCAA tournament. Oh wait...
- So on to tonight's opponent, the Minnesota Wild, who only recently fell out of the last wild card spot in the Western Conference and will be attempting to claw their way back in tonight. They are coming off a dismal effort on Thursday night, dropping a 7-4 decision to the goal-challenged Devils, and are 1-3-1 over their last three games. The Canes lost 3-2 to the Wild in overtime back on Nov. 12 in Raleigh and have picked up at least a point in seven out of the last 10 meetings between the teams.
- Both teams practiced yesterday and won't hold a morning skate today with the early start. Interim head coach John Torchetti, who the Canes will face for the first time since he replaced Mike Yeo on Feb. 13, plans to make a few line changes today. One of those changes may be a healthy scratch for Thomas Vanek, who didn't participate in yesterday's line rushes. Vanek has 36 points (16g, 20a) in 33 career games against the Canes. Mikko Koivu leads the Wild in points with 48 (16g, 32a), Charlie Coyle leads all scorers with 21 goals, and Ryan Suter leads with 38 assists. Nino Niederreiter has goals in three straight games. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper suffered an upper body injury in Thursday's loss and will miss tonight's game. Stephen Michalek has been recalled to back up Devan Dubnyk, who was pulled Thursday night after giving up three goals on the first eight shots he faced. Dubnyk has a career 4-1-0 record and 3.03 GAA in six career appearances against the Canes.
- In Thursday's loss, the Canes faced 48 shots on goal and blocked 14 more, and while head coach Bill Peters was satisfied with the overall effort, the team spent way too much time defending and not enough time on offense and puck possession, so yesterday's practice aimed to tweak those areas. There were no reported line changes. Ryan Murphy missed practice due to an upper body issue, and he is a question mark for today's game, so once again on short notice Trevor Carrick gets the recall and will rejoin the team in case Murphy is unable to play. Peters has not announced his starting netminder. Though they recently broke consecutive game point streaks, both Phil DiGiuseppe and Jeff Skinner have remained hot on the score sheet, finding it again Thursday night. PDG has six points (3g, 3a) in six games and Skinner has nine points (4g, 5a) in eight games.
- UPDATE 12:15 pm: Cam Ward has been confirmed as the starting goaltender for the Canes; Ryan Murphy is out with an upper body injury and Trevor Carrick will draw in on defense.
Hurricanes (3/19 team report)
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Chris Terry
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Brody Sutter
Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey
Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce
Trevor Carrick - Michal Jordan
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Justin Faulk (lower body), Andrej Nestrasil (fractured vertebra), Ryan Murphy (upper body)
Wild (3/19 team report)
Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle
Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jordan Schroeder
Ryan Carter - Erik Haula - Nino Niederreiter
Justin Fontaine - Jarret Stoll - David Jones
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella - Jonas Brodin
Mike Reilly - Matt Dumba
Injuries and scratches: Jason Pominville (lower body), Darcy Kuemper (upper body), Thomas Vanek (healthy), Chris Porter (healthy), Nate Prosser (healthy)
- Canes Gameday Hub [CH.com].
- Bill Peters post-practice media 3/18 [CH.com].
- The Canes are giving youngsters, especially Phil DiGiuseppe, a chance to impress (note, this is from earlier in the week, prior to his goal on Thursday, but I missed it in the last set of links) [N&O].
- Wild host Hurricanes looking to keep in the playoff hunt [Wild.com].
- Looking ahead, not back, is Wild coach Torchetti's message [StarTribune].
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard announced his retirement from hockey yesterday; a look back on his Wild career [Hockey Wilderness].