After about two weeks of playing without a number of their regulars, the Carolina Hurricanes are welcoming back the majority of their walking wounded.
Two days after activating Tim Gleason and Tim Brent from injured reserve and welcoming back Jeff Skinner, who had been out with a concussion, the team announced that defenseman Joni Pitkanen has been activated from injured reserve.
The veteran Finn missed seven games with a lower-body injury. Pitkanen leads Carolina's defenseman with a plus-8 rating. The Hurricanes went 3-4-0 without Pitkanen, who prior to the injury was averaging a career-high of 24:30 in ice time per game. He ranks fifth in the NHL with 31.4 shifts per game.
Entering Saturday's game in Raleigh against the Florida Panthers, the Hurricanes lead the Southeast Division with 21 points. The timely addition of Pitkanen and Gleason gives Carolina two veteran defensemen who have combined for 1,095 NHL regular-season games.
Here are the projected lineups for Saturday's game between the Panthers and Hurricanes:
Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Jack Skille
Drew Shore - Jonathan Huberdeau - Peter Mueller
Scottie Upshall - Stephen Weiss - Tomas Kopecky
Jerred Smithson - Shawn Matthias - George Parros/Mike Santorelli
Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson
Tyson Strachan - Brian Campbell
Filip Kuba - Colby Robak
Injuries: Kris Versteeg, Michael Caruso, Ed Jovanovski, Mike Weaver
Jiri Tlusty – Eric Staal – Alex Semin
Jeff Skinner – Jordan Staal – Chad LaRose
Jussi Jokinen – Riley Nash – Patrick Dwyer
Drayson Bowman – Tim Brent – Tim Wallace
Tim Gleason - Joe Corvo
Jay Harrison – Justin Faulk
Joni Pitkanen – Jamie McBain
Injury: Tuomo Ruutu
Scratches: Kevin Westgarth, Bobby Sanguinetti