Brendan Woods will play his third NHL game Tuesday and is eager to be in the Canes’ lineup against the Ottawa Senators.
“It should be fun,” the forward said after the Canes’ morning skate.
Fourth line, top line, it doesn’t matter to him. Recalled from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), his job is to be both physical and effective.
“He’s good good speed, he can get in on the forecheck,” Canes coach Bill Peters said. “He’s a physical, big, strong guy, so if he’s going to play for us down the road he’s going to have to be a guy who can get in the forecheck and be disruptive. And be intelligent, at the same time, in his own zone.
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“That will be the challenge for him tonight, to make good decisions with the puck, get his feet going and be noticeable.”
Woods, 23, made his NHL debut last season against the New Jersey Devils two days before Christmas, then played at Tampa Bay two days after Christmas before being reassigned.
The lines at Tuesday’s skate had Woods on Jay McClement’s line with Chis Terry. Jordan Staal was centering Joakim Nordstrom and Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask at center with Jeff Skinner and Phil Di Giuseppe, and Riley Nash centering Nathan Gerbe and Brad Malone.
The defensive pairs were Jaccob Slavin-Ron Hainsey, Noah Hanifin-Brett Pesce and Michal Jordan-Ryan Murphy. Justin Faulk (lower-body injury) was not at the skate.
— It’s Cam Ward’s net against Ottawa, but after that? Hard to say.
The Canes want to take a longer look at goalie Eddie Lack in the final stretch of the season. At the same time, Ward will be an unrestricted free agent and could re-sign barring a late-season contract extension.
“Eddie’s been good here recently but so has Cam, and we have to be smart about what we do,” Peters said. “We’ve got some other guys we need to get a look at, too. We’ve got to make sure going into the summer what we have in our organization. Not hoping that guys can play. Knowing that they can or they cannot play.”
And at what position. Peters said again Tuesday that Lindholm will be shifted to center in this final stretch. The Swede was drafted as as center man in 2013 but has played almost all of his NHL games at right wing.
— The Canes (29-26-11) went into Tuesday’s game six points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but with the surging Philadelphia Flyers ahead of them.
“We’re still pushing. We want to get in if we can,” Peters said. “We have a good foundation here and we have great kids in that room. We’ve got unbelievable veteran leadership.
“Nobody talks about our older guys. They just want to talk about our young D and everything else. Our older guys have done a great job this year.
-- The Canes are 12-0-2 against the Senators in the past 14 games at PNC Arena, outscoring them 47-21. In the Nov. 7 game, Skinner’s goal with 3.3 seconds left in regulation tied the score, and Jordan Staal won it in overtime 3-2. … Ward is 14-7-2 against the Sens, with a 2.37 GAA. …
Sens defenseeman Mark Borowiecki and Chris Phillips, and forwards Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris all on injured reserve. … Ottawa has the NHL’s sixth-best power play on the road (22.9 percent).