Canes Now

January 16, 2014

Canes put in extra work at practice

After having Wednesday off, the Canes returned to practice Thursday at Raleigh Center Ice and put in two sessions. The top line had Jiri Tlusty, Eric Staal and Alex Semin.

After having Wednesday off, the Canes returned to practice Thursday at Raleigh Center Ice and put in two sessions.

Forwards Pat Dwyer and Drayson Bowman again missed practice with lower-body injuries. In the first session, defenseman Ryan Murphy put on a white jersey and filled in for Dwyer at forward on Jordan Staal's line opposite winger Nathan Gerbe.

Canes coach Kirk Muller noted it was just a temporary move, noting there were extra defensemen and moving Muprhy "gave him some extra skating … and filled the void for the day."

Muller had Jiri Tlusty on the top line with Eric Staal and Alex Semin. He made that move Monday in the 2-0 loss to Calgary, shifting Jeff Skinner from Staal's line to the third line and moving Tlusty back to Staal's line.

Elias Lindholm centered Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu in practice, and Manny Malhotra worked with Riley Nash and Radek Dvorak. Lindholm, who returned last week from the World Junior Championship in his native Sweden, has played both center and wing this season but it a natural centerman.

"We need to see where 'Lindy' is at. It's an important position on a hockey team," Muller said. "He has chemistry with (Skinner). A guy who is as hot as Jeff is, you want to make sure you surround him with the right people. We'll try that trio."

The Canes (19-18-9), after a 6-1 win last Thursday over the Toronto Maple Leafs, have not scored in six straight periods, being shut out by Columbus 3-0 and then the Flames.

"I think that's the way it goes sometimes," Skinner said. "The nice thing about this week is we got some time to practice and sort some things out in our game. I think it's important that we not force it. The offense will come and take care of itself.

"We just have to make sure we keep playing a solid 60 minutes and stick to our game plan. It'll sort itself out and we'll get some goals and get the monkey off our back."

The practice’s second session Thursday was used for special teams’ work. The first power-play unit had Skinner with Eric Staal, Semin, Lindholm and John-Michael Liles.

The Canes will practice Friday at RCI, then face the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday, both at PNC Arena -- an old Southeast Division doubleheader of sorts.

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Canes beat writer Chip Alexander

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