Canes Now

January 4, 2014

Khudobin to start against Isles

It took Anton Khudobin about two and a half months to get back in net for the Canes after an ankle injury. Apparently, he's fully recovered

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It took Anton Khudobin about two and a half months to get back in net for the Canes after an ankle injury.

Apparently, he's fully recovered. He'll be back in net Saturday against the New York Islanders, making his second consecutive start.

Justin Peters shut out the Islanders 1-0 on Nov. 7, the last time the two teams played. But Canes coach Kirk Muller will stick with Khudobin on Saturday and likely go with Peters on Sunday against Nashville at PNC Arena in the back-to-back set.

Khudobin was injured Oct. 13 and did not play for the Canes again until Thursday, when he had 38 saves in a 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals. The start came after a brief conditioning stint with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), where he made back-to-back starts.

"He hasn't played much so we want to give him an opportunity to get some momentum going and get him playing," Muller said. "(Peters) won the game against Nashville in Nashville, and that's who we have tomorrow night.

"Our focus is (Khudobin) just getting back. He did what we asked. He went to the minors and came back. He won his hockey game. He should be fresh. So play him against tonight and hopefully build on his last game."

Muller said there would be no lineup changes from the Caps game, meaning defenseman Mike Komisarek will again be a healthy extra.

Muller huddled with the third and fourth lines before the morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. Against the Caps, fourth-line center Brett Sutter -- just called up from the Checkers -- did not get a shift in the third period as Muller double-shifted Manny Malhotra. Tuomo Ruutu had four shifts in the third and Zach Boychuk three.

"We're in a state where if someone isn't going we can't wait," Muller said without being specific about players. "Right now it's all about winning the game that night.

"When I talked to those guys today I said, 'We need our third and fourth lines to not wait and see what the first two (lines) do every night. We need you guys to have nights where you dictate the tempo of the game. You set the tone.'"

At the skate, Eric Staal centered Jeff Skinner and Alex Semin, Jordan Staal was at center with Nathan Gerbe and Pat Dwyer, Malhotra was with Drayson Bowman and Ruutu, and Sutter with Boychuk and Radek Dvorak.

The defensive pairs were Justin Faulk-Andrej Sekera, Ron Hainsey-Brett Bellemore and John-Michael Liles-Ryan Murphy. Komisarek worked with Jay Harrison, who continues to recover from a concussion but could be available late next week, Muller said.

The Canes (16-16-9) will be facing an Islanders team that is last in the Metropolitan Division but has resurrected its season, winning its past three games and five of seven. The Isles (14-21-7) topped the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime Thursday.

"It's been fun the past couple of weeks seeing our confidence growing game by game," Isles captain John Tavares said Saturday.

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Canes beat writer Chip Alexander

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