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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Shuffle Lines and Regroup

Monday, 10.14.2013 / 3:00 PM / 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.
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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 60 11 28 -14 39
E. Staal 55 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 59 11 16 -15 27
J. Skinner 55 16 9 -15 25
R. Nash 57 7 15 -8 22
N. Gerbe 56 7 14 -11 21
V. Rask 58 8 11 -16 19
J. McClement 60 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 24 4 11 -1 15
A. Semin 36 2 12 -8 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60