Game Day Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs Buffalo Sabres


Carolina Hurricanes (19-15-7) vs Buffalo Sabres (16-16-9)

The Carolina Hurricanes take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight at PNC Arena.  This is the third meeting between the two divisional rivals and the Canes won both previous games.  The Hurricanes and the Sabres always play tight, hard-nosed hockey when they meet and tonight will be no different.  With the Canes sitting five points out of a playoff spot and with three games in hand, every game is a must-win.

The Hurricanes are riding a wave of momentum after defeating the league-leading Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.  In what felt like the most important win of the season so far, the Canes showed why they deserve to be in the conversation for a postseason spot.

Game Day By the Numbers

Hurricanes Sabres 
Last Result5-3 W vs CBJ4-2 L @ TBL
Last 106-4-04-5-1
ES CF%51.62%47.20%
PP% (Goals)17.8% (21)21.6% (31)
SH% (Goals)88.5% (5)73.4% (0)

Who’s Hot

The Skinner-Rask-Ryan line combined for three goals and led the Canes to victory over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.  Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask both needed a breakout game to jumpstart their offensive production.  The Hurricanes need Skinner and Rask to be firing on all cylinders if they want to make a late push for the playoffs, and Ryan has been a catalyst for that line so far this season.  Watch for that line to build on their last performance and dominate against Buffalo tonight.

Who’s Not

The Hurricanes powerplay is struggling to find the net.  Of 33 opportunities, they have embarrassingly converted on only two.  That stretch is over a twelve game span and is officially a problem that needs to be fixed.  A slump that lasts a couple of games will usually correct itself but a twelve game span like this is unacceptable.  The powerplay either needs to change its approach or inject some new life into it.  Over that twelve game span, the Hurricanes are 7-4-1.  That is a decent record, but in a playoff race, they need to win every game and go on a long win streak. Three of those five losses could have gone the Hurricanes way if they had just converted on the powerplay.  Watch for changes to be made, or else the powerplay will continue to hold this team back.


The Hurricanes are 12-1-1 at home since November 12 and will try to continue that hot streak at PNC Arena tonight.

Bill Peters will likely keep the same lineup from the Tuesday night win over Columbus.  Leaving Rattie, Dahlbeck, and Murphy as the healthy scratches.

Bryan Bickell has been skating with the Canes recently.  Earlier this season Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and is on the long-term IR.  Bickell is not close to a return but it is a good sign that he is able to skate and start his road to recovery.



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 /

LiveTweet: @CardiacCane