After Tuesday’s morning skate at PNC Arena, Eric Staal
, Jiri Tlusty
and Alexander Semin
huddled up in the corner of the locker room for an impromptu chalk talk.
The band is back together, for tonight at least.
While tonight's match in St. Louis marks the third exhibition game for Tlusty, Staal and Semin will make their preseason debuts, both coming off offseason rehab – Staal from a core muscle injury and Semin from wrist surgery.
“It’s been good,” Staal said of his progress in training camp thus far. “I’m ready to get into game action to test that and see how it feels, but I foresee no issues moving forward.”
Other than training camp skates, the most game-action-like scenario Staal has experienced to this point was the Red-White scrimmage on Friday.
Tonight will mark the first true test; it’s preseason, sure, but hockey is hockey.
“The more game-like situations you look forward to,” Staal said. “You get the competitive juices flowing once the game starts.”
The Canes’ second line will feature Riley Nash centering Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm. With Jordan Staal on the shelf, could the two top lines tonight be a preview of the top six come Opening Night?
“I want to continue to see the centers battle it out,” head coach Bill Peters said. “There are positions up in the air to a certain degree, but there’s valuable ice time that’s really up in the air”
Cam Ward will get his second start in net of the preseason. He made 10 saves on 13 shots in the Canes’ preseason opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets, splitting the game with Alex Nedeljkovic. Peters said he’ll give Ward “the full 60” tonight, and Anton Khudobin should get the same treatment on Wednesday in Columbus.
CarolinaHurricanes.com will be rinkside at Scottrade Center tonight to bring you live in-game updates. The puck drops at 8 p.m. You can listen to the game on 99.9 FM The Fan and follow along on Twitter with these accounts: @NHLCanes, @Canes_Gameday and @MSmithCanes.