WASHINGTON -- Another day, another game, more new faces for the Canes.
The Canes took the ice at Verizon Center for the morning skate with forward Zac Dalpe and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani. Both were called up Monday from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) and will be in the lineup tonight against the Washington Capitals.
Dalpe was on the third line centered by Riley Nash, with Jiri Tlusty on the other wing. Gragnani was paired defensively with rookie Ryan Murphy, who will be playing his fourth NHL game tonight.
There had been scuttlebutt that defenseman Tim Gleason, out five games with a lower-body injury, might travel to Washington and take part in the skate. Murphy, an emergency callup from the Kitchener Rangers (OHL), must return to his junior team once one of the three injured Canes defensemen -- Gleason, Joni Pitkanen or Jamie McBain -- is able to return.
But the three D-men still are in Raleigh. So is forward Jeff Skinner, who has missed four games with a concussion.
Gragnani, signed as a free agent in July, has 73 games of NHL experience but has spent all of this season in Charlotte. He has played 33 games for the Checkers, with one goal and 20 assists, and will replace Michal Jordan, who was reassigned to Charlotte.
"Gragnani has experience and been here before," Muller said. "I thought Jordan played well and it's a good experience, getting his feet wet."
Dalpe has 18 goals and 18 assists with the Checkers and has been on an offensive tear. Dalpe got in six games with the Canes before being reassigned Feb. 3.
"(Dalpe) has been playing well since he's been down and has been scoring," Muller said. "His speed and skill level, I think, will help our lineup tonight."
Muller made a line change Sunday in the 4-2 road win against the New York Islanders, moving Chad LaRose to Eric Staal's line opposite Alex Semin, and will keep that line intact tonight. The second line has Jordan Staal centering Jussi Jokinen and Pat Dwyer, and the fourth line has Jeremy Welsh with Tim Wallace and Kevin Westgarth-- Drayson Bowman will be the healthy extra.
Justin Faulk will be paired with Joe Corvo and Jay Harrison with Bobby Sanguinetti on the back end. Cam Ward, the winner Sunday against the Isles, will start in goal.
LaRose was a healthy scratch Feb. 14 against Toronto and now finds himself on the top line. The veteran winger had a goal and assist in the loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday, and again had a plus-2 game and played with fire and energy Sunday in the win against the Isles.
"He's had a tough start and I said, 'Hey, just stick with it,'" Muller said. "I said, 'If you raise your game to where you're capable, you're going to see more ice time and you're going to move up the ladder.'
"He's been pushing. It's been a frustrating start for him but I thought the last two games he's really elevated his game. He has great chemistry with those two guys. Moving Jiri down, it's not a knock on Jiri. It's more just balancing the lines and giving Rosey a chance. He's stepping it up at a good time."