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Canes Shuffle Lines and Regroup

Monday, 10.14.2013 / 3:00 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Canes Shuffle Lines and Regroup
Following a disappointing effort in an inter-conference Sunday matinee, the Carolina Hurricanes regrouped on Monday with new lines.

Michael Smith
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The line shuffle wasn’t too drastic, and head coach Kirk Muller said that was by design. He wanted to keep pairs of forwards together that have worked well with one another; Eric Staal remained with Alexander Semin, Jordan Staal stayed with Nathan Gerbe and Riley Nash and Jeff Skinner weren’t split.

Tuomo Ruutu was elevated to the first line, Jiri Tlusty skated on the second line, Patrick Dwyer hopped onto the third line and Radek Dvorak was plugged into the mix of forwards on the fourth line.

The line changes may or may not stick for Tuesday night’s match-up with Chicago, but it was at least a varied look for a day.

“Just seeing a different look here today and experimenting in practice,” Muller said. “We’ll make decisions tomorrow, but we’re just seeing if it makes sense to make a couple of little changes without doing a major overhaul.”

In his first game back from a lower-body injury suffered during the preseason, Ruutu logged 10:28 of ice time, two shots and a hit against Phoenix.

“I got him as much ice time as I thought would be good in the first game to get his feet wet again. He was working hard,” Muller said. “He brings energy and plays a straight-line game. If we opt to put him up there with Alex and Eric, it will be good timing because it will make that line go a little bit more direct.”

Ruutu said he gradually felt more comfortable as Sunday’s game progressed.

“In the first period, I felt like guys were going right and left. That’s how it is. You forget how quick of a game it is. I was only out for three weeks and it felt like guys were going right and left and left and right,” he said. “In the second period I felt better, and in the third period I felt fine.”

Working on a line with Staal and Semin in practice, Ruutu said it’s easy to work off a pair that has established chemistry; they know where one another is going to be, and Ruutu can use his instincts to play off of that.

In injury news, Elias Lindholm skated in a no-contact sweater on Monday, and he remains day-to-day with an upper-body concern.

“He said he’s feeling pretty good, and we’ll see where he is tomorrow,” Muller said. “Roddy is going to push him again today.”

As expected, Muller confirmed that the Hurricanes will recall goaltender Justin Peters from Charlotte. Anton Khudobin left Sunday’s game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Early indications are that Khudobin’s injury might not be as serious as it originally appeared.

“Hopefully he’s back sooner than later,” Muller said.

Luckily for the Hurricanes, the schedule density lightens up a bit in the latter half of October. After playing six games in 10 days to start the season, the Canes will play six over the next 17 days. Following Saturday’s game, Carolina will play just three times in 12 days.

In any case, Ward, who had the day off on Monday, will have a chance to settle into a rhythm.

“It’s an opportunity for Cam to pick up some more games,” Muller said. “That’s why you can’t look ahead because we were just playing it back and forth with them because they were playing so well. Now Cam has an opportunity to have a few games, and it gives Khudobin a chance to heal up to 100 percent.”



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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 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
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 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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