When it comes to setting the lineup, Hurricanes coach Bill Peters often says, “Win and you’re in.”
The Canes won Friday in their home opener against the New York Rangers. They’re all back in for Sunday and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Cam Ward again will be the starting goaltender as the Canes look to follow up a 3-2 victory over the Rangers with another against a Metropolitan Division team that beat them 6-3 eight days ago.
“We’ll be better this time against Philly,” Peters said after Saturday’s practice.
The Canes (2-3-2) checked all the boxes Friday in winning a home opener at PNC Arena for the first time since 2008.
Ward was stellar. Of his 28 saves, several were high-quality. The Rangers’ first goal came on a power play when Ward was planted face-down in the crease, drawing a coach’s challenge from Peters for goaltender interference that was denied on review.
Jeff Skinner, back in the lineup after missing the Detroit game with an injury, was terrific. The Canes’ forecheck was better. While there still were some miscues in the defensive zone, the play there was cleaner. The Canes were effective in the neutral zone, slowing down the speedy Rangers.
The Canes has the lead going into the third period. They held it, and against a good team. That was a good thing for Carolina.
“It’s big, especially having such a young team,” said Skinner, an “old head” at 24. “It’s a good confidence-builder, especially against a team as good as they are and with the skilled guys they have. It’s a good feeling and something we can build off.
“Obviously you’d like to win by more than one goal, but you’ve got to be able to hold on to those leads, especially in the third period at home.”
The Canes had a 2-0 lead over the Flyers in Oct. 22 game in Philadelphia. But that was early. By the third period, the Flyers had taken control against a team playing the fifth of six road games to start the season.
Peters said the Canes “ran out of gas” in the game. The Flyers also were the more aggressive team and their power play tested Carolina’s penalty-killers as well as any team this season.
The Flyers (3-5-1) will be playing the second half of a back-to-back Sunday, losing 5-4 Saturday to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The lines for Sunday’s game should again have Skinner with center Victor Rask and right wing Lee Stempniak. Jordan Staal will center Joakim Nordstrom and Sebastian Aho, Elias Lindholm will be at center with Teuvo Teravainen and Phil Di Giuseppe, and Jay McClement will center Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg.
The defensive pairings again will have Ron Hainsey with Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin with Brett Pesce, and Noah Hanifin with Klas Dahlbeck.
“I thought we were solid in a lot of aspects of the game,” Peters said of Friday’s win. “I thought ‘Wardo’ was very good, made some timely saves for us. I liked the way we played in the third. We managed the puck properly in the third and continued to be aggressive offensively.”