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Hurricanes' Ward to face Jets

Goaltender returns, will see first action since Jan. 15

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

HURRICANES (23-21-8) at JETS (22-25-3)


WINNIPEG -- Goaltender Cam Ward will play for the first time since Jan. 15 when the Carolina Hurricanes visit the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Friday.

Carolina placed Ward on injured reserve Jan. 20; goaltender Eddie Lack has started the past six games.

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters is expected to make two changes to the same lineup he used in a 4-1 loss at the Calgary Flames on Wednesday that started a three-game Canadian road trip.

Forward Nathan Gerbe is expected to replace Chris Terry on the fourth line. Defenseman Michal Jordan is also expected to enter the lineup for Ryan Murphy.

The Hurricanes trail the New Jersey Devils by four points for the second Stanley Cup Playoff wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

"Coming out of the [All-Star] break, we've got to get ourselves going to where we were prior to entering the break," Peters said.

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said: "A lot of things [need to be better than against Calgary]. We just weren't moving our feet and playing the way we can. It wasn't a game we wanted. We came out flat. We're looking for a bounce-back [Friday]."

Jets captain Andrew Ladd did not participate in the morning skate; however, he will play, coach Paul Maurice said. No lineup changes are expected for Winnipeg. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck will start for the 21st time in the past 23 games.

Winnipeg remains nine points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Jets finish a stretch of nine of 10 games at home that has produced two wins.

"We're looking for that good feeling," Maurice said. "It's such an important part of this time of [the season]. We've healed some people up. Big important game here as a starting point for a lot of road games this month."

Something that might help provide that good feeling is going against Carolina's 28th-ranked power play. The Winnipeg penalty kill ranks 27th and has allowed a power-play goal in seven of the past nine games.

"Our penalty kill just has to get over the hump," Jets defenseman Mark Stuart said. "I hate to say it, but it almost just has to be perfect, close to perfect, from here on out."

Here are the projected lineups:


Kris Versteeg - Eric Staal - Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil

Nathan Gerbe - Jay McClement - Riley Nash

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin - Michal Jordan

John-Michael Liles - Jaccob Slavin

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: Brett Pesce (lower body), James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Brad Malone, Ryan Murphy, Chris Terry


Nikolaj Ehlers - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Bryan Little - Drew Stafford

Andrew Ladd - Adam Lowry - Alexander Burmistrov

Chris Thorburn - Andrew Copp - Joel Armia

Jacob Trouba - Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers

Mark Stuart - Ben Chiarot

Connor Hellebuyck

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Ondrej Pavelec (knee)

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Anthony Peluso, Paul Postma

Status report: Gerbe returns after being scratched for the past three games … Jordan has played three games since Dec. 26 … Pavelec spent time on the ice. His return date from a knee injury sustained Nov. 21 remains unknown.

Who's hot: Skinner (one goal, three assists) has a three-game point streak … Ehlers has a five-game point streak (four goals, three assists).

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