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Gameday: Canes vs. Phoenix

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
Brandon Sutter has been ruled out of tonight’s game with a lower-body injury, leading the Hurricanes to recall Jerome Samson for tonight’s home game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Paul Branecky
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Sutter, who is considered no worse than day-to-day at this point, attempted to skate this morning but did not feel up to speed. After tonight’s game the Canes are off until Tuesday, raising hopes that he will not miss any more time.

“There was no change to the injury and what we thought it was through testing, so that wasn’t a setback,” said coach Paul Maurice. “He just didn’t feel like he could go today.”

Carolina will start with the top six forwards they used following Sutter’s mid-game injury on Thursday, moving Jussi Jokinen to center the second line and Erik Cole up to Eric Staal’s right wing. Full lines can be found here.

Samson has 19 points in his last 12 games with Albany, which has catapulted him to seventh place in AHL scoring with a total of 62 points. Although he did not arrive in Raleigh in time for today’s morning skate, he is expected to skate with Rod Brind’Amour and Zach Boychuk. Samson had one assist in a five-game stint with the Hurricanes earlier this season.

Following his stellar 37-save performance against Pittsburgh Thursday, Justin Peters has earned his second consecutive start in goal for the first time in his NHL career. Since Cam Ward was sidelined by a back injury in early February, Peters has been splitting the workload evenly with Manny Legace.

Maurice said that he expected the timeshare to continue, but that he and the rest of the coaching staff are making such decisions on more of a game-to-game basis than the otherwise might if Ward were healthy.

”We want to keep both guys in and going and kind of pick styles of games for players that we think would be better, and we’ll also help a player keep confidence,” said Maurice. “Justin should feel real good about his performance coming off of Pittsburgh. It’s also a challenge for him to rebound and have a great game against a high-end team and then play a team you don’t know real well.”

Indeed, the Hurricanes do not know Phoenix very well, with tonight’s game being the first meeting of the season between the inter-conference foes. When the teams last met in February of 2009 – a 7-2 Canes victory and Jussi Jokinen’s debut – those struggling Coyotes were very different than the ones currently holding the Western Conference’s fourth seed.

In other goaltending news, Ward took the ice this morning for the first time since his injury, skating with Assistant Coach Tom Barrasso sans goalie equipment. There is still no definitive timetable for his return.


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