The Carolina Hurricanes will have center Jordan Staal and forward Elias Lindholm back in the lineup Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canes on Tuesday activated Staal off NHL injured reserve. Staal had missed the past seven games as he recovered from a concussion suffered Nov. 27 against the Florida Panthers.
Lindholm has been out the past five games with a lower-body injury. He traveled with the team last week to California in hopes of getting in some of the three road games but did not play.
Staal will center a line with Lindholm on the right wing and Joakim Nordstrom on the left side. The other lines at Tuesday’s morning skate had Victor Rask centering Jeff Skinner and Derek Ryan, Teuvo Teravainen at center with Sebastian Aho and Lee Stempniak, and Jay McClement at center with Viktor Stalberg and Brock McGinn.
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The defensive pairs were Ron Hainsey-Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin-Brett Pesce and Noah Hanifin-Matt Tennyson.
Goalie Cam Ward will start his fifth straight game in net, making his 23rd appearance in the Canes’ 29th game. Ryan Miller will start in net for the Canucks.
The Canes (11-11-6) are facing a Canucks team that is playing the fifth and last game of an Eastern road trip. Vancouver (12-15-2) has lost three of the past four games but hammered Tampa Bay 5-1 last week.
“We’ve been good at home and we have a lot of home games before the Christmas break, and we’re looking forward to taking advantage of that,” Hanifin said. “I think all the guys are super excited just to be back. We’ve had a lot of long road trips and everyone is excited to be home in front of our home fans.”
— Brandon Sutter’s first goal of the season was a memorable one, beating the Canes 4-3 in overtime in the second game of the season.
That helped the Canucks open with four straight wins, but Vancouver then was winless in its next nine games (0-8-1), the last eight in regulation. At 4-8-1, the Canucks were in a hole from the start and have gone 8-7-1 over their past 16 games.
“We’ve got some work to do to try and get up into a playoff spot,” Sutter said Tuesday at PNC Arena. “It’s been up and down. We lost nine in a row and that was a long stretch for us. Ever since then we’ve played a lot better. We had a chance to get to (NHL) .500 and then we lost the last two.
“It’s been a bit of a tough go. But for the most part the last couple of weeks we’ve played a lot better and our structure is better than it was last year, for sure. We’re much better defensively. If we find a way to score some more goals and get some more offense we’ll be OK.”
Sutter, a first-round draft pick by the Canes in 2007, played 286 games for Carolina before being traded to Pittsburgh in 2012 in the Jordan Staal deal. Sutter, 27, will be playing his 545th career game Tuesday.
“It still feels like yesterday, coming in here, being an 18-year-old kid, being drafted here and walking in here,” Sutter said. “It goes by pretty quick but I’ll always cherish the time I had here.”