PHILADELPHIA — Canes coach Paul Maurice wasn't sure until today's morning skate how his centermen might line up tonight.
Tuomo Ruutu has been bothered by a lower-body concern for a few games. Maurice wanted to take a good look at Ruutu at the skate before making any decisions about tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
But Ruutu was moving well and good to go. He'll again center the line with Jeff Skinner and Erik Cole, with Eric Staal centering Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose, and Brandon Sutter at center with Pat Dwyer and Sergei Samsonov on the wings. Jon Matsumoto will center the fourth line in his NHL debut.
"He feels better today than he has for the week," Maurice said of Ruutu. "Not skating yesterday helped."
Maurice said there was no guesswork about the goaltender situation for tonight. He wanted Justin Peters in another game and had this one pencilled in for Peters' second start of the season. Peters started Oct. 20 and took the loss in the 4-3 defeat to the LA Kings.
"I had this one on the schedule for quite some time based on our seven games in 11 days," Maurice said. "He has to play a game."
Peters will be in net against a Flyers team missing forward Danny Briere, who has been suspended three games by the NHL for his crosscheck to the head of the Islanders' Frans Nielsen late in Saturday's game. The NHL announced the suspension just after the Flyers' morning skate today.
The Flyers, 6-4-1 after winning their last three games, called up forward Eric Wellwood from the Adirondack Phantoms.
Maurice said the Flyers would be able to make up for the loss of Briere, whose six goals has him tied for the team lead with Claude Giroux.
"They've got a certain style of play, they've got good size and good strength," Maurice said. "The guy that gets that chance to play there will play well. So I'm not sure there's an advantage to it."
Maurice will make forward Patrick O'Sullivan a healthy scratch tonight for the fourth time this season. O'Sullivan played in the Canes' 4-3 road win Friday against the New York Rangers and in the 3-0 loss Saturday to Pittsburgh in Raleigh.
"I really like Paddy's game against the New York Rangers, his energy, and was somewhat less inspired by the Pittsburgh game," Maurice said.