Canes Now

Rask back with Skinner, Stempniak

The Carolina Hurricanes Lee Stempniak, left, and Jeff Skinner skate during a conditioning drill on the first day of on-ice training camp at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. on Sept. 23, 2016. The first game of the regular season is Oct. 13th in Winnipeg; the home opener is Oct. 28th against the NY Rangers.
The Carolina Hurricanes Lee Stempniak, left, and Jeff Skinner skate during a conditioning drill on the first day of on-ice training camp at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. on Sept. 23, 2016. The first game of the regular season is Oct. 13th in Winnipeg; the home opener is Oct. 28th against the NY Rangers. cseward@newsobserver.com

The gang’s back together again.

At least, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak.

Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters, after a 5-0 loss Tuesday to the Washington Capitals, on Thursday reunited a line that was productive for the Canes early in the season.

Rask and Skinner have played together much of the season while Stempniak has been used on different lines. In the past few games, Peters had Derek Ryan at center with Skinner and Stempniak, and Rask centering Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen. Rask and Ryan switched lines at Thursday’s practice at Raleigh Center Ice.

“We’ve got to get some offense going again here,” Peters said. “I think that’s going to help us.”

Skinner and Rask are the top two scorers for the Canes this season, but Skinner has one goal and one assist in the past 10 games and Rask does not have a point in the 10 games.

“I haven’t even talked to him about it,” Peters said of Rask. “He’s been an effective player for us. Offense comes and goes. We talk about that all the time. Defense is something you can hang your hat on each and every night through structure and hard work.

“Offensively, it happens. It happens to guys individually and teams collectively, and unfortunately (Rask) is in that right now. I think he’ll come out of it.”

Jordan Staal will continue to center Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm, and Jay McClement was at center with Joakim Nordstrom and Viktor Stalberg on Thursday.

The defensive pairings had Jaccob Slavin with Brett Pesce, Justin Faulk with Ron Hainsey, and Noah Hanifin with Matt Tennyson. Klas Dahlbeck worked with Ryan Murphy.

The Canes (24-21-7) will practice Friday at RCI before the flight to Dallas. They face the Stars on Saturday in a 2 p.m. ET start, the final game before the Canes’ five-day NHL bye week.

Carolina won its first three games after the NHL All-Star break before the loss to the Caps. Entering Thursday’s games, the Canes were four points out of wild-card playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

“We have a chance to go 4-1 on the segment,” Peters said. “If we can gather six, seven, eight points every five-game segment, then we’re going to give ourselves a chance.”

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