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Season preview: Carolina Hurricanes

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Season preview: Carolina Hurricanes

To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.

Today’s team: Carolina Hurricanes

2014-15 record: 30-41-11, 8th in the Metropolitan

How they finished: Did not make the playoffs

Coach: Bill Peters (2nd year)

Notable additions: G Eddie Lack, D James Wisniewski

Notable subtractions: D Brett Bellemore, RW Patrick Dwyer, RW Alexander Semin, G Anton Khudobin

RELATED: Las Vegas, Quebec City advance in NHL expansion process

Schedule against the Capitals: Sat. Oct. 17 at Washington, Mon. Dec. 21 at Carolina, Thu. Dec. 31 at Carolina, Tue. Mar. 15 at Washington

Outlook: The biggest issue for the Hurricanes last season was their offense as they ranked 27th in the NHL with only 183 goals for the season (2.23 goals per game). Alexander Semin was a huge disappoint and was ultimately bought out by the team. Other than that, Carolina made few moves to address the offense in the offseason other than bringing in James Wisniewski who should help on the power play. That means it falls to Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal to have bounce back years and Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm to continue improving.

Defensively, the Hurricanes may have both their 2015 and 2014 first-round draft picks on the ice. Carolina took Noah Hanifin with the fifth-overall pick in 2015 and considered to be the best defenseman in the draft. Both he and 2014 first-round pick Haydn Fleury will make a push for the NHL this season.

The intrigue doesn't stop at the blue line, however, as Eddie Lack will challenge long-time starter Cam Ward. With both goalies entering the final year of their contracts, they will be competing for more than just playing time.

Whatever the Hurricanes hope to accomplish this season, they will need a better start than they had last year. The season was over as quickly as it began as the Hurricanes failed to win a single game in October, going 0-6-2. It ultimately led to a coaching change as Kirk Muller was replaced by Bill Peters. I don't see the Hurricanes being so quick to oust Peters this season if things start slowly, but a winless month in the NHL does not leave a good impression with management.

Expectations: It's going to be a long year in Carolina. The Hurricanes did nothing to address their dreadful offense other than cross their fingers and hope the same players play better this season. Their best players are underachieving and over the hill, or very young and still developing. It is far more likely that Carolina ends up in the lottery than in the playoffs.

Though the team is going to be bad, they still should be fun to watch as there are a lot of young prospects that could find their way into the lineup once the Hurricanes throw in the towel and that won't take too long.

MORE CAPS: Red Wings to honor Fedorov in home game against Caps

See more team previews:

Pacific Division 
Anaheim Ducks 
Arizona Coyotes 
Calgary Flames 
Edmonton Oilers 
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks 
Vancouver Canucks

Central Division 
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Winnipeg Jets

Atlantic Division 
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division 
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24 
New Jersey Devils 8/25 
New York Islanders 8/26 
New York Rangers 8/27 
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28 
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29 
Washington Capitals 8/30

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Capitals vs. Panthers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals vs. Panthers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-1, 7pts) are coming off of an overtime thriller at home over the Rangers thanks to Matt Niskanen's crafty timing.

Through the first six games of the season, Washington is undefeated on Wednesdays, yet has failed to win consecutive games. The Caps hope to change that trend Friday night at home vs. the Florida Panthers (0-2-2, 2pts).

The Panthers have yet to win a game this season, with each of the four games being decided by just one goal. The Panthers have no problem scoring, netting at least five goals in two of the first four games, but have failed to seal the deal. This is where the defending Stanley Cup champions will need to capitalize.

Only the Maple Leafs (33) and Hurricanes (33) have scored times more than the Capitals (24). Washington has a clear advantage in firepower. The biggest key to victory is keeping the space in front of Braden Holtby clean as a whistle. If the Caps control their goalmouth, they should have no issues dispatching the Panthers.

Here is everything you need to know about the Friday night game, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. 

CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Friday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: Watch Capitals vs. Panthers on the NBC Sports Washington live stream page and the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS-PANTHERS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps FaceOff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: NHL: Florida Panthers at Capitals 
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals: Travis Boyd (OUT, IR), Tom Wilson (OUT, Suspension)

Panthers: Michael Haley (OUT, Leave of Absence), Roberto Luongo (OUT, MCL injury), Mike Matheson (OUT, Suspension) 

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Evgenii Dadonov, W, Panthers: Dadonov is leading the Panthers this season with two goals and two assists on the season.

John Carlson, D, Capitals: Carlson had a heck of a game vs. the Rangers Wednesday night with a goal and two assists. The Capitals practiced faceoffs in practice leading up to Wednesday night's game and all of the practice paid off with Carlson's goal coming right off the faceoff from Backstrom. 

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 123

All-Time Series Record: 64-50-9

Playoff Record: N/A

Last Meeting: Panthers beat Capitals 3-2 (2/22/2018)

Last 10 Meetings: Tied 5-5 

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What’s next for Capitals' Tom Wilson?

What’s next for Capitals' Tom Wilson?

On Thursday, Tom Wilson appealed his 20-game suspension to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. So what happens now?

Wilson was suspended 20-games for a hit he delivered to St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the preseason. The NHLPA filed an appeal on Wilson’s behalf which led to his hearing on Thursday.

Bettman is expected to reach a decision sometime next week so for now, Wilson will have to wait.

When a decision is reached, he will have two options of how to proceed. First, he can accept the commissioner’s decision and serve whatever suspension remains. As of Thursday, he has currently served six games out of the original 20-game suspension.

Wilson also has the option of a second appeal. For suspensions of six games or more, a player can file a subsequent appeal to a neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator is given authority to issue a ruling based on whether the league’s finding of a violation of the rules and the penalty imposed were both supported by substantial evidence, meaning both the hit itself and the length of suspension will be reviewed.

This can be a lengthy process.

The most recent example of a player appealing to a neutral arbitrator is Nashville’s Austin Watson. He was suspended 27 games by the NHL on Sept. 12 for domestic assault. On Oct. 12 an arbitrator reduced the suspension to 18 games.

Given the serious nature of domestic assault, it should be noted that Wilson and Watson’s respective transgressions are in no way comparable. This example is used merely to illustrate how long the process can take.

Another example is that of Dennis Wideman who was suspended 20 games in 2016 for hitting and injuring a referee. His suspension was ultimately reduced to 10 games by an arbitrator, but by that time he had already served 19 games.

Wilson will remain suspended throughout the appeals process.

Obviously he would like to return to the ice as quickly as possible, but even if his appeal drags out and Wilson is forced to sit for most or all of those 20 games, he still can recoup some of the money he will forfeit from this suspension (over $1.2 million) which will make the arbitrator’s decision still relevant for him personally.

Should Wilson serve the full 20-game suspension, he will be eligible to return to play on Nov. 21 when the Caps host the Chicago Blackhawks.

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