Canes Now

Quick hits from the morning skate

The Staals are back together again and Cam Ward back in net for the Canes' game Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

At the morning skate, Eric Staal was a winger on Jordan Staal's line opposite Nathan Gerbe. That's the line Sidney Crosby's line will be seeing.

The Pens won't have enough forwards available for four lines. Pens coach Mike Johnston said because of injuries his team will be a man down and have a 19-man roster, dressing 11 forwards.

Canes coach Bill Peters said with 11 forwards, the Pens could have Crosby on the ice for 21, 22 or 23 minutes. "All of a sudden you have to concern yourself with that," he said.

Peters said Jordan Staal would get a lot of faceoffs against Crosby and his line would be matched up against the Crosby line as much as possible. No surprise there.

-- The other Canes lines Friday had Victor Rask at center with Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm, Riley Nash centering Chris Terry and Alex Semin, and Jay McClement at center with Brad Malone and Andrej Nestrasil. Pat Dwyer was the extra.

The defensive pairings were Ron Hainsey-Justin Faulk, Michal Jordan-Ryan Murphy and John-Michael Liles-Danny Biega. Brett Bellemore was the extra D-man.

Peters said Ward, who has been sick, was feeling strong again and eager to play. Anton Khudobin started the past five games.

-- Peters was asked Thursday about the Canes' needs and offseason priorities.

"I think you've got to look at the back end and how to improve that," he said. "Try and find some guys who fit into a top-four role. A partner for Justin Faulk who can be a full-time partner and is a legit top-pairing guy. So there's some work to be done there and they're not easy to find."

-- Rask shows almost no emotion on the ice at any time but the rookie did admit to kicking up his right leg -- a little, and quickly -- after scoring Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rask said he had a "cele" or two while playing for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. One came after scoring a goal to win a playoff game, he said.

-- A season-long problem for the Canes: scoring goals, especially five-on-five. Carolina is averaging 2.24 goals a game, 27th in the league.

"We all know how you have to score," Peters said. "Get closer to the net, that's where I would start. Get closer to the net and maybe get a second and a third and maybe get in the goalie's eyes.

"You've got to make it tough on the goaltender. You can't get beat by that guy."

The Canes have been beaten by "that guy" a lot lately -- Dan Ellis, Andrew Hammond, Carey Price, Cam Talbot, Corey Crawford. Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net for the Pens.