Sekera doubtful for Canucks game

Posted by Chip Alexander on November 30, 2013 

Defenseman Andrej Sekera was not at practice Saturday and Canes coach Kirk Muller said he is very doubtful for Sunday's game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Sekera has an undisclosed upper-body injury and did not play Friday in the Canes' 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. His absence caused some shuffling on the back end, with Ron Hainsey taking Sekera's spot in the No. 1 pairing with Justin Faulk and Mike Komisarek playing with Brett Bellemore.

Sekera was missed, both defensively and on the power play. He also has been productive offensively, with three goals and two assists in his last five games before Friday.

"Let's not kid ourselves, he was playing really good hockey," Muller said. "He was eating up minutes. He was on the power play, killing penalties, playing against the top guys.

"Mike (Komisarek) stepped in and played really well for not playing in a while. He played hard. But it does change your dynamics. (Bellemore) has to move over to the left side for the most part. The power-play units change. But at the end of the day you have to find a way to get it done."

The Canes led the Devils 2-1 after two periods Friday, but allowed three goals in a five-minute span than began about nine minutes into the third. Jaromir Jagr's 692nd career goal finished off a four-goal period for New Jersey.

The Canucks had a Saturday afternoon game in New York against the Rangers, in coach John Tortorella's return to Madison Square Garden. Tortorella was fired by the Rangers after last season.

"It's a team we didn't see last year, being a Western Conference team," Muller said. "But I think right now we've got to get back to looking at our game. We'll prepare and all that, but we have to understand that last night was a frustrating loss and we should be ready to bounce back."

Goalie Anton Khudobin (ankle) was at practice Saturday at Raleigh Center Ice. Center Manny Malhotra was held out of practice but was at RCI, as was Sekera. Forwards Alex Semin (concussion) and defenseman Tim Gleason (lower-body injury) also were at RCI.

The lines had Eric Staal with Nathan Gerbe and Tuomo Ruutu; Jordan Staal with Jiri Tlusty and Pat Dwyer; Elias Lindholm with Jeff Skinner and Radek Dvorak; and Riley Nash with Drayson Bowman and Kevin Westgarth.

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