Elias Lindholm will be back in the lineup Tuesday as the Carolina Hurricanes host the Columbus Blue Jackets, and back on a line with center Jordan Staal and Brock McGinn.
The forward was activated Tuesday off injured reserve after missing five games with an upper-body injury.
“I’m excited to be back and against the best team in the NHL,” Lindholm said Tuesday after the morning skate.
The Canes, preparing for the roster move, placed forward Andrej Nestrasil on NHL waivers Monday. Nestrasil cleared waivers Tuesday, and general manager Ron Francis said he would be assigned to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.
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Lindholm had scored goals in back-to-back games and had four points in his last three games when he was injured Dec. 30 against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Staal line, with McGinn on the left side and Lindholm on the right, was giving the Canes consistently strong play.
“I felt good and we were playing pretty good on our line, too,” Lindholm said. “Hopefully we can come back and play the same way.”
Lindholm, an effective penalty killer, has won 52.2 percent of his draws.
— There was a scary moment for the Canes at the morning skate when goalie Cam Ward took a shot by Lee Stempniak off the inside of a leg.
Ward was down on all fours for a few moments as goaltending coach Dave Marcoux skated over to check on him, along with Stempniak and Jeff Skinner. Ward skated to the bench, then made an early departure from the skate.
Canes coach Bill Peters did not immediately have an update on Ward after the skate, saying, “I don’t know, I don’t have the courage to go check.”
Ward is expected to make his 17th consecutive start for the Canes and face Anton Forsberg of the Blue Jackets. Columbus coach John Tortorella said goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, named Tuesday for the 2017 NHL All-Star Game along with Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, was sick and would not be available.
The Blue Jackets on Tuesday recalled goaltender Joonas Korpisalo from the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL.
— With Lindholm back, Derek Ryan has been moved back to Victor Rask’s line with Skinner, replacing Ty Rattie. Teuvo Teravainen will center Sebastian Aho and Stempniak, and Jay McClement will be at center with Viktor Stalberg and Joakim Nordstrom.
The defensive pairs are Jaccob Slavin-Brett Pesce, Ron Hainsey-Justin Faulk and Noah Hanifin-Matt Tennyson.
Rattie is the extra forward, and Ryan Murphy and Klas Dahlbeck the extra defensemen.
— It took half a season but the Canes and Blue Jackets, two Metropolitan Division teams, finally are getting in their first game.
They’ll also see a lot of each other the next two weeks: three of Carolina’s next six games are against Columbus, starting Tuesday.
“I think it’s an outstanding test and we’ll know what we are and where we stand going into the All-Star break,” Peters said.
The Blue Jackets have been the NHL’s best story — and team — this season, building a 28-7-4 record. They’re averaging 3.3 goals a game and has outscored opponents 41-21 in the first period, and also have gone 17-2-1 when leading after the first.
“Everything is done right in all three zones,” Peters said of the Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets lead the NHL on the power play at 26.7 percent and the Canes are tied for first in penalty killing at 88 percent. Conversely, the Blue Jackets are 16th in penalty killing (81.8 percent) and the Canes 16th on the power play (18.1).