Muller tweaks power-play units

calexander@newsobserver.comNovember 11, 2013 

The Canes put in some power-play work Monday during practice at PNC Arena as coach Kirk Muller looked at a few new wrinkles.

One power-play unit had Eric Staal, Alex Semin and Jiri Tlusty joined by Tuomo Ruutu and defenseman Andrej Sekera. The second unit had Jordan Staal, Nathan Gerbe and Chris Terry with defensemen Ryan Murphy and Justin Faulk.

Against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, Muller had Terry on the first unit with Staal, Semin and Tlusty, and Murphy as the quarterback. Sekera was with Faulk on the second unit.

"We've just got to simplify and shoot," Muller said. "The personnel is there. We just have to get guys in more of a shooting mentality and net presence.

"It's really pretty the much same makeup of personnel. We just have to go to a higher tempo, simplify and shoot more and get more traffic."

Goalie Cam Ward and defenseman Tim Gleason put in another practice Monday and Muller said it's possible Gleason could play Tuesday against Colorado. He said a decision on Gleason's availability would be made after the morning skate.

"I think right now he's good to go health-wise," Muller said of Gleason.

Muller said forward Jeff Skinner, who suffered an upper-body injury Oct. 24, still could be a couple of weeks away from returning. Forward Kevin Westgarth (upper-body injury) could be back in a few days, the coach said.

Goalie Anton Khudobin continues to make slow progress. Khudobin has been going through off-ice workouts and Muller said he probably was a week away from participating in a team practice.

Justin Peters will be making his eighth straight start in net for the Canes. Peters has stopped 77 of 80 shots in the past three games (.963).

"His performance the last few games has been very strong," Muller said.

Peters made the first start Oct. 25 against the Avalanche in Denver. That was a night after Ward was hurt early in the game at Minnesota and Peters rushed into the game.

The Avs threw 18 shots at Peters in the first period in taking a 2-0 lead. Drayson Bowman and Sekera later scored even-strength goals for the Canes and Matt Duchene finished with two goals and an assist for the Avs, who won 4-2.

Colorado continues to roll, building a 14-2-0 record. Even more impressive: the Avs are the only team in the NHL without a road loss, going 6-0-0.

"We've got a quick team coming in that plays a high-tempo game," Muller said. "We have to be ready to skate.”

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