Derek Joslin, the extra defenseman in Sunday's game at Florida, was filling in today for center Brandon Sutter in practice at the RBC Center.
Joslin was at center with Anthony Stewart and Andreas Nodl on the fourth line, and also scored on the shootout that ended practice.
Canes coach Kirk Muller said Sutter was taking a maintenance day for a lower-body concern but would play this week against the Phoenix Coyotes and Ottawa Senators heading into the Christmas break.
"He needed some fixin' up," Muller said of Sutter.
Muller said the toughest part of the pre-Christmas schedule was focusing on the work at hand.
"There's a lot of distractions right now, families coming in," Muller said. "We're all human beings. It's a big celebration time of the year, obviously.
"That's what we talked about today, that we've had a good focus so far the last five or six games. We've got two games left ... and need to be prepared and be ready to go after these two games. We know where we are in the standings but what we can control is our games. If we put two wins together here at home we're at Christmas maybe five points out (of playoff position)."
Buffalo is sittting in eighth place with 35 points, nine points ahead of the Canes.
The Canes spent a part of practice today working on the power play, with an emphasis on shooting the puck on the power play. Or having a "shooting mentality," as Muller called it.
"You want to run the plays and move the puck around so you get the penalty killers out of position, but the purpose of it is to get shots and opportunities, so don't pass 'em up when we get 'em," Muller said.
Muller indicated Cam Ward would start both home games.
"He wants the ball, he wants to be in there," Muller said of Ward. "His confidence is growing each game."