Dan Ellis will be in goal for the Canes against Tampa Bay on Saturday, coach Kirk Muller said today. As for the back end ...
Defenseman Tim Gleason returned to practice today, his first since suffering a lower-body injury that kept him out of the lineup the past three games. Joni Pitkanen, also out three games with a lower-body injury, put in a second practice and was paired with Gleason at times.
Muller said both remain "day to day" and that a decision would be made on their availability after tomorrow's morning skate. If Muller decides to hold them out another game, rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy -- an emergency callup from the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) -- would get his second NHL game.
"We have a lot of confidence in his game," Muller said. "We were really pleased with him. To come in and play 23 minutes, at his age or any age, first game, he did a lot of things really well. But we're missing some key veteran guys that obviously we would like to have back."
Why Ellis? Cam Ward allowed a few soft goals Thursday in the 4-3 loss to Winnipeg, but Muller said the decision to start Ellis was more "he's done well against Tampa."
Ellis also played for the Lightning in the 2010-2011 season before being dealt to the Anaheim Ducks.
Ellis' numbers are impressive -- he has a 3-1-0 record with a 1.75 GAA and .943 save percentage. He was the winner against Toronto in the Feb. 14 game at PNC Arena.
Forwards Jeff Skinner (concussion) and Tim Brent (lower-body), and defenseman Jamie McBain (upper-body) did not practice today.
The lines were not changed from the Winnipeg game. Drayson Bowman remained on Jordan Staal's left wing opposite Pat Dwyer.
"I think Jordan having guys who are workers, guys who can skate on the wings, open up things for him," Muller said.
Muller said he thought the Canes played pretty well against the Jets, noting they gave up just six or seven scoring chances.