Eric Staal was not at practice today at the RecZone, but Canes coach Paul Maurice did not sound worried about the team captain.
Staal left in the third period of the Canes' 4-3 win Tuesday over the Ottawa Senators and did not return. Maurice said today Staal has a lower-body injury but is expected to play Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"There were good signs today when he came in," Maurice said. "We'll keep him off the ice today and tomorrow, and we expect him to be fully ready to go."
Staal left the game with the Canes leading 4-2. Maurice said he wanted to return, but Maurice did not want to take a chance on it.
"We have to be able to win a game and close the deal out without putting him at risk," Maurice said. "He just kinda felt something and went it (for treatment) and said he'd come back out. We were down to six minutes left on the clock and I liked the way Paddy Dwyer went in there.
"It was a bit of a gamble but I didn't want to put him at risk."
Staal assisted on Cory Stillman's eventual game-winner early in the third, but the Canes (34-29-10) had to hold on in the final minutes to outlast the Sens (27-37-9).
Goalie Cam Ward and forwards Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen were given the day off. All three are expected back on the ice Thursday for practice before the team leaves for Tampa.