Winless in their last three games, having scored three goals in the three losses, the Carolina Hurricanes are making changes.
Eric Staal is going back to left wing with brother Jordan Staal at center and Kris Versteeg at right wing.
There will be the all-Sweden line of Victor Rask at center with Joakim Nordstrom and Elias Lindholm on the wings.
The third line will have Riley Nash centering Jeff Skinner and Chris Terry, and Jay McClement at center with Brad Malone and Andrej Nestrasil.
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That’s the plan for Friday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Canes coach Bill Peters said after the morning skate. It’s also subject to change, he noted.
Rask suffered an upper-body injury Wednesday against Vancouver and left the game in the third period. Rask was at Friday’s skate, but Peters said there would be a game-time decision on whether he plays Friday night.
“Our problem is we haven’t scored coming out of Christmas,” Peters said of the changes. “We haven’t scored at all. In my opinion what we’ve done (with the lines) is load up a little bit. We need some offense out of the Staal line if they stay together and need some offense out of the Rask line. We’ve gotten away from being crisp with our execution.”
The defensive pairings have Ron Hainsey back with Justin Faulk, John-Michael Liles with Brett Pesce and Noah Hanifin with Jaccob Slavin.
Cam Ward will be the starting goalie, Peters said, adding it was “wait and see” on a Saturday starter in Columbus.
-- Nathan Gerbe took part in the skate and Phil Di Giuseppe did some skating on his own after the session.
Gerbe has been out since Nov. 22 with an ankle injury, missing 21 games, and Peters said he had his “fingers crossed” the winger could be ready to play in about a week. Di Giuseppe suffered a concussion last week against Nashville and has missed the past two games.
“We need (Gerbe’s) pace. We miss Phil’s pace,” Peters said. “When we get them back in we’ll become a quicker team.”
-- It was the trade that had the NHL buzzing this week -- Nashville sending defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus for center Ryan Johansen.
Jones was in Raleigh on Saturday as the Predators faced the Canes for the second and last time this season. But Jones is back, and now will face the Canes twice with the Blue Jackets in the back-to-back.
Columbus coach John Tortorella said the addition of Jones, the fourth pick of the 2013 NHL draft, gives the Jackets a lefty/righty combo in the three defensive pairings.
Of obtaining Jones, Tortorella said, “I like the way he carries himself. He’s a good player and he’s 21. We gave away a good player but we really believe … this is a good trade for our organization.”
Peters said the addition of Jones should be “impactful” and added, “They’re a solid D corps. I like their D corps .. and they made their D corps better, for sure.”
Jones will be playing in front of goalie Anton Forsberg, whom Tortorella said would be the starter. Forsberg, a 6-foot-3 Swede, will making his third appearance of the season and playing his eighth overall NHL game.
-- Having a home-in-home back-to-back is a scheduling oddity but the two coaches don’t mind.
Peters: “I like it. Not much changes. Your pre-scout remains the same.”
Tortorella: “It’s interesting back to back, with the same team, we’re going to play six periods. I think when you spend a couple of days with one team you’ll see more tendencies, because you’re with them 48 hours. But we’re going to worry about our execution.”