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Looking for spark, Hurricanes pair Staals, recall Terry

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Looking for a spark after losing nine of the past 12 games and falling behind in the Stanley Cup Playoffs chase, Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller scrambled the lines for his team's game Tuesday at the Columbus Blue Jackets and put the Staal brothers together.

Based on the morning skate, center Jordan Staal will have older brother Eric Staal to his left and Alexander Semin on his right.

Muller said he has paired the Staals on a few occasions this season, most recently during a 5-4 loss March 8 to the New Jersey Devils.

"The three times they have been together there's been some signs of success," Muller said. "I figure we have to have a little bit of a different look and put the onus on our top guys and throw them together.

"Three guys like that on a line should get some production and lead the charge."

Jordan Staal has 14 goals in 68 games and Eric has 16 in 65 games, but the Hurricanes (29-30-9) are nine points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

"Guys like myself need to step up and help this team win a game and get on a roll here," Jordan Staal said.

Jordan Staal previously had been playing on a line with Semin and left wing Nathan Gerbe, but another new combination has Hurricanes goal leader Jeff Skinner (26) at left wing with center Riley Nash and right wing Elias Lindholm, while Gerbe, center Andrei Loktionov and right wing Patrick Dwyer will form another unit.

"It's always nice to get a shake up," Jordan Staal said. "It can give guys a boost. It's new energy. Hopefully it works out well."

Another way Muller is hoping to add some punch to the offense is the call-up and insertion into the lineup of forward Chris Terry from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.

"Our problem is scoring goals and he can score goals," Muller said. "We're giving him the opportunity."

Terry, Carolina's fifth-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft (No. 132), has 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) in 56 games for the Checkers and also appeared in seven games for the Hurricanes earlier this season.

"I don't think I'm a savior by any means in that sense, but maybe fresh blood and by being enthusiastic I can help," he said.

Muller said goaltender Anton Khudobin will make his second straight start.

For the Blue Jackets, center Blake Comeau returns after serving a two-game suspension for boarding Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith on March 11. Comeau will play on the fourth line with left wing Derek MacKenzie and right wing Mark Letestu.

Corey Tropp moves from that line and will replace right wing Cam Atkinson to play alongside center Artem Anisimov and left wing RJ Umberger. Atkinson (18 goals) will be a healthy scratch for the third time in the past five games.

"By numbers somebody's got to come out," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "Cam's been working hard, skating and doing things but [Comeau and Tropp] deserve to be in the lineup. Those other two guys are playing really good hockey and that's what it comes down to."

The Blue Jackets (35-26-6) are 3-0-1 in the past four games and at 76 points hold the third and final automatic playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:


Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Alexander Semin

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Elias Lindholm

Nathan Gerbe - Andrei Loktionov - Patrick Dwyer

Drayson Bowman - Manny Malhotra - Chris Terry

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

Jay Harrison - Ryan Murphy

Anton Khudobin

Cam Ward

Scratched: Mike Komisarek, Justin Peters

Injured: John-Michael Liles (upper body), Jiri Tlusty (lower body), Radek Dvorak (upper body)


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Nathan Horton

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno

RJ Umberger - Artem Anisimov - Corey Tropp

Derek MacKenzie - Blake Comeau - Mark Letestu

Fedor Tyutin - James Wisniewski

Nikita Nikitin - David Savard

Jack Johnson - Dalton Prout

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Frederic St. Denis, Matt Frattin, Nick Schultz, Cam Atkinson

Injured: Jared Boll (ankle), Ryan Murray (knee)

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