Canes Now

Ward to start against Canucks; Nestrasil in lineup

Cam Ward will be the starting goalie Friday for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Vancouver Canucks and Andrej Nestrasil will be in the lineup.

Canes coach Bill Peters said he was reluctant to break up a productive fourth line but will replace Brad Malone with Nestrasil, who last played an NHL game Dec. 8 against the New Jersey Devils. Nestrasil, who was sidelined with an upper-body injury, was sent to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) for a conditioning stint.

"An unbelievably tough decision. Those are the ones that are hard," Peters said of the line change. "That line has been very good for us for a long time. (Malone) has done everything he needs to do to stay in the lineup. He deserves to be in the lineup and we'll get him back in the lineup."

The lines Friday had Jordan Staal centering Eric Staal and Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask centering Nathan Gerbe and Jiri Tlusty, Riley Nash at center with Jeff Skinner and Alex Semin and Jay McClement with Nestrasil and Pat Dwyer. Malone and Chris Terry are the extra forwards.

The defensive pairs were Andrej Sekera-Justin Faulk, Ron Hainsey-Ryan Murphy and Tim Gleason-John-Michael Liles. Brett Bellemore is the extra D-man.

Peters said Anton Khudobin would start in net Saturday when the Canes complete a back-to-back with a game in Ottawa.

-- The Canucks took a 4-0 road win Thursday in Philadelphia as Ryan Miller notching his 33rd career shutout and 315th career victory.

Miller has not played in back-to-back situations but could go again Friday. He was the winner Oct. 28 when the Canucks beat the Canes 4-1 in Vancouver.

The Canucks (24-15-3) had dropped three straight before stopping the Flyers, losing 5-1 in Nashville in the first game of their five-game road swing before the All-Star break. Eddie Lack was in net for the Preds game.

"I think they're a real good team," Peters said. "I think they're a deep team. I think they can score, four lines deep.

"They'll get good goaltending from whoever they choose to play. I'm more worried about our team and how far we've come since we've seen them last."

Vancouver has won 10 of the past 13 games against Carolina.

-- The Canes (14-24-5) are playing their last home game before the All-Star break. The final two games are in Ottawa and Toronto on Monday.

The Canes are 4-1-1 in January after a 3-10-1 December but Peters said that's misleading.

"I don't think we're playing much different in the month of January than we did in the month December," he said. "We're a different team than we were in October and November by far, but in the month of December and January it was very similar.

"Obviously the addition of Jordan (Staal) in the lineup changes things, but I thought our team game in the month of December was good for the most part. We're just finishing off a few more plays, maybe getting a few more bounces around the net, but I think we're going to the net harder, which is important."