Rookie forward Elias Lindholm will not be in the lineup Sunday for the Canes’ home game against the Phoenix Coyotes, coach Kirk Muller said Saturday.
Lindholm suffered an upper-body injury in the first period Friday against the Los Angeles Kings and was taken to the dressing room for treatment. He returned to the game but was hurt again in the second period and missed the rest of the game as the Canes fell 2-1 in a shootout.
Muller said Lindholm was “day to day” and would be replaced at third-line center by Riley Nash, who was made a healthy scratch Friday.
“I talked to ‘Nasher’ and told him I needed a little more fire in his belly when he plays,” Muller said. “He started off well the first couple of games but we’ve got to get him back to playing that type of game. So he’s rested and what’s nice is we’ve got some healthy bodies to jump in and play when we get an injury like this. We’ll have four lines out there again tomorrow.”
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Lindholm was centering the third line, and Jeff Skinner took over at center when Lindholm went out. There was much discussion before the season about whether Skinner would be used on the left wing or at center, and Muller liked what he saw of Skinner in the middle Friday -- but ony to a point.
“It was OK. He didn’t come to me today and ask if he could stay there, so I think he’s happy to go back (to winger),” Muller said, smiling.
Muller would not commit to his starter in net for the Coyotes. Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin have alternated in each of the first five games, and it would be Khudobin’s “turn” after Ward was in net against the Kings.
In Saturday’s practice at Raleigh Center Ice, the top two lines remained unchanged -- Eric Staal centering Jiri Tlusty and Alex Semin, and Jordan Staal at center with Nathan Gerbe and Pat Dwyer. Nash centered Skinner and Radek Dvorak, while Tuomo Ruutu, Brett Sutter, Drayson Bowman and Kevin Westgarth alternated on the fourth line.
Ruutu has been medically cleared to play, Muller said, but the coach was not sure when he would return to the lineup. Ruutu got in some extra skating with assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour after practice.
“As soon as he feels like he’s fit to go …” Muller said.
Defenseman Justin Faulk, who briefly left Friday’s game to be treated, was given a “maintenance day” Saturday and should play Sunday. Muller said he also would wait until Sunday morning to make decisions on his defensemen -- Mike Komisarek played Friday and Ryan Murphy was a healthy scratch.
“I told ‘em all to come Sunday ready to play,” Muller said.