RALEIGH, N.C. – As the final day of training camp ended for the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, it was evident that coach Kirk Muller and his team are ready to start their season against the Detroit Red Wings at PNC Arena on Friday.
“We’re excited,” Muller said after practice.
“We’ve got a good opponent coming in tomorrow. Our guys are ready. I think the key is that we just go out and play.”
As the National Hockey League (NHL) season has already been under way since Tuesday, the Red Wings come into the two teams’ 68th all-time meeting with a 1-0 record after beating the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 during their season-opener at home on Wednesday.
For Carolina, Muller expects his team to jump out of the gate quick and get to business against an effective puck-moving team that skates at both ends of the rink.
“There’s no surprise,” Muller said.
“Their identity is that they’re a really good skating club and they don’t give you any time. They’re gonna’ come and forecheck well and backcheck well. They don’t beat themselves.”
With the Red Wings formerly playing in the Western Conference, and as a result of league realignment, the Hurricanes will now see their new Eastern Conference opponent three times this season.
Even though Detroit won the two team’s last matchup 5-4, back on Mar. 24, 2012, the last time the Hurricanes hosted the Red Wings at PNC Arena on Apr. 6, 2011, they gave their fans a 3-0 shutout victory to go home with.
With few single tickets available, and the pregame festivities going on in and around the arena beginning at 5 p.m., the air will be filled with excitement as hockey returns to Raleigh for the 2013-2014 season
The Hurricanes opening night roster will feature numerous new faces like rookies Elias Lindholm and Ryan Murphy, Radek Dvorak, Nathan Gerbe, Andrej Sekera, and Ron Hainsey to complement the team’s core of Cam Ward, Eric and Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin, Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, and Jay Harrison among others.
After completing his first full training camp with the Hurricanes, Muller senses his players are ready and emphasized an even-keeled approach to beginning the 82-game marathon towards the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“There’s always jitters opening night, playing the first game at home,” Muller continued.
“We just gotta’ relax, have fun, play hard, play the game the right way. We’ve had enough time to really cover everything and it’s gonna’ be a continued work in progress after tomorrow to keep working on things. “