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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 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 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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