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Tracking the Storm

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.\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 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 71 22 28 -12 50
J. Faulk 76 15 32 -19 47
E. Lindholm 75 16 21 -20 37
J. Skinner 71 18 13 -22 31
V. Rask 74 11 20 -13 31
N. Gerbe 72 9 17 -13 26
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. McClement 76 7 13 -5 20
A. Nestrasil 48 7 13 5 20
J. Staal 40 4 16 -6 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 22 5 .909 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60