Game Day Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs Chicago Blackhawks

Carolina Hurricanes (15-12-7) vs Chicago Blackhawks (22-10-5)

The Carolina Hurricanes return home to host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the PNC Arena.  This is the first meeting of the season between the cross-conference opponents.  Last season the Hurricanes won the season series 2-0.  The Hawks, Central Division leaders, will pose a tough challenge for the young Canes.

The Hurricanes dominated Pittsburgh on Wednesday night for 60 minutes and came out with no points to show for it.  They will come out firing tonight against the Blackhawks, hoping to make up for the Wednesday’s missed opportunity.  The Hurricanes are at a pivotal point in their season and need to use this part of the season to make up ground in the division.

Game Day By the Numbers

Hurricanes Blackhawks
Record 15-12-7 22-10-5
Last Result 3-2 L @ PIT 3-1 L vs WPG
Last 10 6-2-2 6-2-2
FO% 51.1% 48.4%
ES CF% 52.06% 50.22%
GF/GP 2.59 2.73
PP% (Goals) 20.4% (20) 18.3% (21)
SH% (Goals) 90.6% (5) 74.7% (0)

Who’s Hot

The Aho-Teravainen-Stempniak line is flourishing. On Wednesday night all three players combined for a beautiful play that ended in a rebound goal for Stempniak.  As Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask have slowed their scoring pace, the Finns and Stempniak have picked up some of the slack.

Storylines

The Hurricanes’ three-game win streak ended Wednesday night, however, they are 4-1-1 over their last six games.  The Canes are playing good hockey and are pushing to stay in the mix for the postseason.

Ryan Murphy did not skate on Thursday morning after getting banged up against Pittsburgh his first game since November 10.  Head coach Bill Peters said he needed a couple of stitches and could still play tonight.  If not, Dahlbeck would come into the lineup.

Peters said yesterday that Cam Ward will start tonight.  Ward has started 28 of the Hurricanes 34 games this season.   Eddie Lack should get a start soon in order to get back into game shape; however, Peters said he plans on sticking with Ward as long as he is playing well.

The Hurricanes have seen a steady rise in attendance this season.  Just shy of 13,000 fans walked through the doors at PNC arena on the Friday before Christmas.  This isn’t where they want the attendance numbers to be, but it is a slow steady improvement from the early home games that were seeing numbers in the 8,000’s. Tonight’s game is edging closer to a sellout, and if the Canes can perform well in front of the home crowd, this could boost ticket sales for the rest of the season.

Lineup

Hurricanes
Forwards
Skinner Rask Ryan
Nordstrom Staal Lindholm
Aho Teravainen Stempniak
McGinn McClement Stalberg
Defense
Slavin/Pesce
Murphy/Hainsey
Hanifin/Tennyson
Goalies
Ward
Lack

How To Watch

PNC Arena: Puck Drop at 7:30 pm ET

Watch: Fox Sports Carolinas / Fox Sports Go app

Listen: 99.9 FM The Fan / WRALsportsfan.com

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