The Canes put in a spirited practice today at the RecZone, getting in some needed work on their ailing power play.
The Canes were 1-for-27 on the power play in their last six games, the lone goal coming in a 1-for-7 effort against Tampa Bay in an overtime loss to the Lightning. They were 0-5 in a 3-2 loss in Philadelphia and beat the Flyers 3-2 on Friday despite going 0-7.
"It hasn't been good," coach Paul Maurice said. "There's a couple of things going on. We've been running more and more some of our power-play guys to kill penalties. Our penalty killing has been really good but we may have to back some of those guys off the P.K. to give them more energy.
"It almost looks like we're looking to rest a little bit on our power play instead of keeping the five-on-five intensity up. We need to do that."
The problem for Maurice is that Eric Staal and Erik Cole, key power-play guys, have worked well together on the penalty kill.
"They're really emerged as a good pair," Maurice said. "In a perfect world I'd like to play Eric Staal a little less but the fact of the matter is he's been good on both sides of the puck for us. He's going to play a lot of minutes down the stretch."
Tim Gleason missed practice for personal reasons and Sergei Samsonov worked out off the ice. Gleason will play against the Rangers, but a decision will be made on Samsonov's availability tomorrow.
Joni Pitkanen was at practice and may play tomorrow, although Maurice said a decision on the six defensemen had not been made.
In today's practice, Jerome Samson was used on Brandon Sutter's line opposite Jiri Tlusty, and Pat Dwyer was on the fourth line with Ryan Carter and Troy Bodie. Maurice said the bottom six had not been set, however. Carter has missed six games with an upper-body injury.
"Carter looked good today but he's coming off an injury," Maurice said.
Cam Ward will again be in goal against the Rangers. Maurice said the staff had talked about slotting Justin Peters into a game but that Ward felt strong and there was no set plan yet for Peters playing.
"Cam's playing really well and he feels good and strong," Maurice said.