The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t been the same team since the Christmas break, and a big reason has been the absence of defenseman Justin Faulk.
The Canes on Thursday activated Faulk from injured reserve. The former NHL All-Star was injured early in overtime in the Dec. 23 game against the Boston Bruins after a collision along the boards with the Bruins’ David Pastrnak.
In another personnel move, the Canes placed forward Elias Lindholm on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 30, with an upper-body injury. Lindholm has missed the past two games.
The Canes, who faced the St. Louis Blues in a road game Thursday, went 1-3 in the four games Faulk has been out of in lineup, scoring seven goals. After the Canes’ 3-1 home loss Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, Canes coach Bill Peters said having Faulk in the lineup provided a quicker pace and better transition play on the back end.
Faulk also was providing offense, five-on-five and on the power play. He had four goals and three assists in the five games before the Christmas break as Carolina went 4-0-1.
Faulk, 24, is tied for seventh among NHL defensemen in goals (7) and is sixth among all Hurricanes skaters in points (16) this season. He’s second on the team in average ice time per game (23:06).