Canes Now

Canes gear up for back-to-back exhibitions on road

The Canes held what amounted to a pregame skate Tuesday at PNC Arena before flying to Buffalo for their preseason game against the Sabres.

Such is the nature of training camp. It's not a regular-season routine. After the game-group practiced Tuesday morning, those players not in the Buffalo game went through a longer session, with a lot of skating to finish it off.

Sticks were propped on knees and some heads down when the second practice ended. It was a grind.

"We've got to be in shape coming out of training camp," Canes coach Bill Peters said. "If we want to skate as a team in the regular season, we've got to make sure we do enough skating in training camp."

Among those in the second group were Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. Neither played in the first preseason game and neither were to play against the Sabres.

Peters said the plan for Staal, who had surgery for a core-muscle injury in the summer, was to play in the Canes' preseason game Sept. 30 at St. Louis and then Oct. 3 against Buffalo at PNC Arena. He said he was not sure when Semin, who had offseason wrist surgery, would play but said the winger should get in a couple of games.

Staal and Semin were at practice Tuesday and on a line with Jeff Skinner.

Jordan Staal will center the top line in the Buffalo game with Jiri Tlusty and Zach Boychuk on the wings. Riley Nash will center Nathan Gerbe and Justin Shugg, and Victor Rask will center a line with Brock McGinn and Greg Nemisz. The fourth line has Brody Sutter at center with Brendan Woods and Jared Staal.

Defensive pairings for Buffalo were Ron Hainsey-Justin Faulk, John-Michael Liles-Tim Gleason, and Michal Jordan-Rasmus Rissanen.

The Canes dropped their exhibition opener 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday with a split squad. The group playing against the Sabres on Tuesday have had a few more practices and more time to adjust to Peters' system and way of doing things.

“I think everybody is getting it pretty good,” Jordan Staal said Tuesday. “Obviously, you say that and when you get in the game everything goes a little quicker and things move a little faster. I’ll let you know after the game, but I think for right now everyone is feeling pretty comfortable with the things we’ve learned. I know there will be a lot more yet, so we’ll keep moving forward.”

Anton Khudobin will be the starting goalie for the Canes after Cam Ward started against Columbus. Carolina faces the New York Islanders on Wednesday to complete a back-to-back road set.

"He's fired up, he's ready," Peters said of Khudobin. "He had his game face on here today."