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Gameday: Canes Gear Up for Season Without Key Players

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 12:15 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Gear Up for Season Without Key Players
The Carolina Hurricanes are gearing up for their final two exhibition matches, the first of which is tonight in Columbus followed by a Friday evening game at PNC Arena against Buffalo.

Michael Smith
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And they’re doing so without a number of top players.

Alexander Semin (upper-body), Tuomo Ruutu (lower-body) and Tim Gleason (upper-body) have all missed practice time this week with injuries, and they will not be in the lineup against Columbus. Elias Lindholm (upper-body) has not played since the team’s preseason opener last Wednesday, and he continues to be sidelined.

“It’s what it is, I guess,” Canes head coach Kirk Muller said. “It’d be nice if you had everything in sync this weekend with your lines and D-pairs. But injuries are a part of the game, and you have to ad-lib it.”

Jeff Skinner is the newest addition to the injured list, as he will be held aside with a lower-body concern. Muller said the 21-year-old forward is doubtful for the team’s preseason finale on Friday.

“We just want to be smart and not push him right now with these exhibition games,” Muller said.

With the team’s injury list swelling, opportunity knocks for a number of players still fighting for a roster spot. Muller said earlier this week that final cuts will likely be made over the weekend.

“We haven’t made all the final cuts, so there are opportunities for guys to keep playing and keep battling for opportunities,” he said. “We have two games left to do it, so we’ll fine-tune things and make the most of it.”

Among those receiving enhanced playing time include Chris Terry, who slides up to a first-line wing position in Semin’s absence, and Jeremy Welsh, who enters the lineup with Skinner out.

Cam Ward is slated to start in net against the Blue Jackets. Muller said he will make a decision on Friday’s starting goaltender following tonight’s game.

Muller teased a varied look on the back-end in the final two preseason games. Mike Komisarek and Matt Corrente are the uninjured extras for tonight’s match.

“You’ll see a whole different look tomorrow night,” Muller said. “We’re not totally set on our whole roster right now.”

A focal point in practice this week has been special teams, and though it’s impossible to predict how much of a role the power play and penalty kill will play in tonight’s game, there are certain aspects Muller will monitor.

“[On the power play] it’s just chemistry and execution and getting that killer instinct to score,” he said. “In penalty kill, it’s finding the right combos of guys and working on the details.”

Compared to last week’s slate of preseason games, which was more geared toward player evaluation, these final two exhibitions give Muller and his staff a chance to see what needs some last-minute tweaking before Detroit comes to Raleigh on Oct. 4.

“Tonight it’s just about getting sharper in some areas,” Muller said. “It’s a good game to fine-tune stuff and see what areas guys have connected on … and what areas we have to spend a little bit more time on in the week before opening night.”

Tonight’s Lineup

Tlusty-E. Staal-Terry
Gerbe-J. Staal-Dwyer
Bowman-Nash-Dvorak
Welsh-Sutter-Westgarth

Sekera-Faulk
Murphy-Hainsey
Harrison-Bellemore

Ward, Khudobin



SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
7 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
11 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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