Canes Now

Quick hits from the morning skate: Canes-Lightning

Defenseman Justin Faulk went through the Carolina Hurricanes’ morning skate Sunday and could be in the lineup against Tampa Bay, Canes coach Bill Peters said.

Faulk has missed the past five games with a lower-body injury suffered in practice. He last played Feb. 7 at Montreal.

Peters said Faulk was “day to day” but that he would go through the pregame warmups Sunday night at PNC Arena and a decision then be made on playing. Peters said three players have been affected by flu-like symptoms and their availability would be known later Sunday.

“We’ll warm everybody up and go with the healthiest guys,” Peters said.

— After the Canes' 5-2 win Friday over the San Jose Sharks, Peters made no line or defensive changes in the skate.

The lines had Eric Staal centering Kris Versteeg and Phil Di Giuseppe; Jordan Staal at center with Joakim Nordstrom and Andrej Nestrasil; Victor Rask centering Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm; and Jay McClement at center with Chris Terry and Riley Nash.

The defensive pairs were Ron Hainsey-Jaccob Slavin, John-Michael Liles-Brett Pesce, and Noan Hanifin and Michal Jordan.

Cam Ward will make his second straight start in net since returning from a lower-body injury.

“Our group is very mature and in a good spot,” Peters said. “They’re very confident in the way we’re playing. I thought we had a real good game the other night against San Jose. Real good second period. I thought the pace of play in the first period was outstanding for both teams.

“That's what we’re looking for here again tonight. We’re going to do what we do and we think that’s good enough.”

— The Lightning are one of the teams the Canes are chasing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay has 32 wins and 68 points after 58 games, and the Canes 27 wins and 64 points after 59 games.

The Lightning, third in the Atlantic Division, took a 4-2 road win Saturday over the Pittsburgh Penguins and have won their past two. That came after a 1-4-0 rough patch, the only win coming Feb. 12 over the Nashville Predators.

It’s the “Fathers Trip” for the Lightning — another motivational factor the Canes must consider. The Pens brought their dads along nine days ago and took a 2-1 shootout win over the Canes.

Among the Tampa Bay fathers is former N.C. State football great Ted Brown, whose son, J.T., is a Lightning forward. J.T. Brown wears No. 23, the number Brown made famous for the Wolfpack from 1975-78 in setting the ACC career rushing record.

J.T. Brown and Faulk were teammates at Minnesota-Duluth and a part of the 2011 NCAA championship team. The two remain good friends.

Brown, who has seven goals and 19 points in 54 games, scored when the Lightning topped the Canes 4-3 in their Nov. 1 game at PNC Arena. Andrei Vasilevskiy was the starting goalie that game and had 32 saves, but Ben Bishop will be in net Sunday, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said, after a 37-save effort against the Pens that tied his season high for saves.

Chip Alexander: 919-829-8945, @ice_chip