For Canes defenseman Justin Faulk and Matt Tennyson, facing the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday won’t be “another game.”
Faulk was activated Tuesday off NHL injured reserve and returned to the lineup, perhaps a little earlier than expected, after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
Tennyson, in contrast, played just his second game with the Canes but will be going against his former team.
Canes coach Bill Peters confirmed after Tuesday’s morning skate that Faulk would play. Although Faulk was paired with Tennyson during the skate, Faulk was to have Ron Hainsey as his partner in the game, Peters said.
“It’s been eight days or whatever, so it hasn’t been that long a layoff,” said Faulk, who was injured Nov. 6 against New Jersey. “It should be fine. I’ve been getting better every day.”
Faulk was injured when he collided with the Devils’ Taylor Hall along the boards, appearing to pin his right arm behind Hall’s back as Faulk made the hit.
“I just got hung up on the boards a little bit and slid down the boards,” Faulk said without being more specific about the injury. “I got hung up on the boards and something didn’t feel right and I took some time off.
“One of the biggest issues coming back is being able to handle the hits and pressure in a game. You can’t get that under your belt in practice.”
Tennyson, 26, played a career-high 29 games for the Sharks last season but then signed a free-agent contract July 3 with the Canes. He began the season with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) but was recalled Saturday — after scoring his first professional hat trick Friday against Iowa — and played Saturday night against the Washington Capitals.
Tennyson had 12:17 of ice time and was plus-2 as the Canes topped the Caps 5-1 for their most impressive home-ice victory of the season. Now, it’s the Sharks.
“You don’t really change anything, the way you prepare or play,” Tennyson said Tuesday. “You go out there and follow the systems. It doesn’t really change anything based on who you’re playing or what the circumstances may be. Just go play your game.”
The Sharks (9-6-0) are on a six-game road trip and have won the first three games — at Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay.
“They’re a deep team, a veteran team that has had some success and knows how to play,” Peters said.
Defenseman Brent Burns leads the NHL in shots with 73 and leads the Sharks with six goals.
“He shoots first, asks questions second, and is ready to shoot all the time,” Peters said. “You’ve got to get in shooting lanes and you’ve got to take away a little bit of time and just be aware of where he’s at.”
Tennyson suffered what he called the first “major” concussion of his career last season with the Sharks.
“It was a long recovery — almost two months I was out,” he said. “It took me a while to get back to normal again. After that you have to start working out and skating and getting back into game shape.
“Everything is good now. Good to go.”