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Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Canes Gear Up for Season Without Key Players

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 12:15 PM / 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.\r\n\r\nAnd they\u2019re doing so without a number of top players, including Alexander Semin, Tim Gleason, Tuomo Ruutu, Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm.
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

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 51 32 15 4 166 133 68
2 MTL 49 32 14 3 130 111 67
3 DET 50 29 12 9 149 129 67
4 NYI 49 32 16 1 158 139 65
5 PIT 50 28 14 8 145 129 64
6 BOS 50 27 16 7 134 124 61
7 NYR 47 28 15 4 139 112 60
8 WSH 50 25 15 10 147 129 60
9 FLA 47 21 16 10 115 132 52
10 PHI 51 22 22 7 140 151 51
11 OTT 48 20 19 9 136 136 49
12 TOR 51 22 25 4 144 156 48
13 NJD 50 19 22 9 113 138 47
14 CBJ 48 21 24 3 120 151 45
15 CAR 49 17 26 6 105 129 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 44 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 49 10 19 -15 29
E. Lindholm 48 9 11 -12 20
R. Nash 49 7 13 -4 20
J. Tlusty 42 12 7 -14 19
J. Skinner 44 10 9 -9 19
N. Gerbe 45 5 13 -7 18
V. Rask 49 6 9 -13 15
A. Sekera 47 1 14 -7 15
J. McClement 49 1 9 -2 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .914 2.41
C. Ward 11 18 4 .913 2.42