NHL Hockey

Under new ownership, Hurricanes host Capitals

RALEIGH, N.C. --- It's bound to be quite a day around the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

A new owner officially takes over and the Hurricanes take on the Washington Capitals at PNC Arena in a rematch of Thursday night's game in Washington.

The Hurricanes are already riding a high with the 3-1 victory against the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals before heading home after the game in anticipation of the back-end of the games on consecutive nights.

On Friday afternoon, the formal introduction of new owner Tom Dundon takes place with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attending.

The Hurricanes (20-15-8) will look to deliver a welcoming victory for the new owner.

"Not a lot changes between games," Carolina coach Bill Peters said of facing the same team on consecutive nights. "It's fresh in your memory."

The back-to-back setup against the same opponent isn't all that common.

"I think you've got to take it one period at a time," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Win the period and try to collect as many periods as you can."

Carolina goalie Scott Darling made 27 saves Thursday night, so that could make for a tough decision for Peters because goalie Cam Ward has been on a good roll for the past month.

"We've got a back-to-back, we anticipate using both of them," Peters said. "We'll see. We'll fly home and make an assessment of the game."

Dundon has spent time around the team in recent weeks, so his ownership role doesn't mark his first up close look of the Hurricanes.

Thursday night's game was tough for the Capitals (27-14-3), who completed a three-game homestand.

Trotz said he has some flexibility with this lineup and he's trying to use that while it's available.

"I look at our schedule, we try to keep some guys in the lineup," Trotz said. "So, I'm rotating (off) a player each time. It is a reality of our schedule and where we are. We're trying to get everybody involved and keep them involved."

With the end of the five-game winning streak, the Capitals want to start another.

"It's going to be playoff mode from this time on," said Trotz, who expects his team to play at a spirited level. "The group has found its own new identity. I think we can be better in a number of areas. We can be better in some of our decision-making and puck management areas. Those two areas come to mind. Some of the details in our game need to be tightened."

Defeating the Capitals is a bonus for the Hurricanes, who lost to Washington by 5-4 in overtime earlier this month at home.

"We have to tighten up," Peters said of the plan against Washington. "What they get they have to earn. We know how to play when we play the right way."

This will be the first Carolina home game since defenseman Noah Hanifin was selected to participate in the NHL All-Star weekend.

"I'm excited," Hanifin said. "It should be a great experience."

The Hurricanes might be in line for a roster move after defenseman Brett Pesce missed Thursday night's game with an upper-body injury suffered earlier in the day during the morning skate.

Updated January 12, 2018

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