Canes Now

Quick hits from the Canes’ morning skate

Eric Staal was at center Friday when the Canes held their practice at PNC Arena.

And at the morning skate Saturday? Back on the wing. Staal was on the left side on Victor Rask's line opposite Elias Lindholm as Canes coach Bill Peters continues to tweak and tinker daily in the final stretch of the season.

The Canes, coming off a 4-0 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens, face the New York Rangers on Saturday night in the first of five straight home games

"Obviously we didn't score in Montreal, so we went back to the lineup we think matches up better against what we think they're going to do tonight," Peters said after Saturday's morning skate.

The other lines at the skate had Jordan Staal centering Nathan Gerbe and Andrej Nestrasil, Riley Nash at center with Jeff Skinner and Alex Semin, and Jay McClement with Chris Terry and Pat Dwyer. Brad Malone was the extra forward.

Peters said he toyed with the idea of using Nash as a right wing but noted Nash has good chemistry with Skinner and Semin. "There's a comfort level there," he said.

-- Defenseman John-Michael Liles will be able to play against the Rangers but that doesn't mean Danny Biega comes out of the lineup or goes back to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL).

Biega will stay in the lineup and Michal Jordan will be the extra, Peters said. Biega could be paired with Liles.

Biega, 23, was recalled from the Checkers and made his NHL debut Thursday against the Canadiens. He had 14:26 of ice time and was minus-2, but Peters said he played well enough.

"There's no sense having a young guy up here that you want to have a look at and then scratch him," Peters said.

Liles suffered a leg injury Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators and was unable to play Thursday.

-- Anton Khudobin will make his fourth straight start in net for the Canes, facing Cam Talbot of the Rangers. New York did not hold a full morning skate Saturday.

-- The Rangers (44-18-7) topped the Canes 4-1 on Jan. 31 at Madison Square Garden, the beginning of a 17-3-3 run that has New York in second place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Montreal. New York is 4-0-0 against Carolina this season and has beaten the Canes in 15 of the past 16 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the most victories the Rangers have had against any NHL team during a 16-game span in franchise history.

-- The Rangers have allowed one goal or none in regulation in each of the past eight games, another franchise first, and are the first NHL team to do it since the Dallas Stars in in March 2001. The Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning are a league-best plus-48 in goal differential this season (Canes are minus-31).

-- Former Canes defenseman Niclas Wallin will be the siren sounder before the game. Wallin is one of the former Canes in town to participate in the fourth annual Alumni Fantasy Game, scheduled Sunday at 1:30 p.m at PNC Arena.

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