Canes goaltending coach Tom Barrasso made the suggestion, but it had nothing to do with Cam Ward.
What about putting winger Michael Ryan on Eric Staal's line, Barrasso said during the second intermission of Thursday's game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Canes coach Paul Maurice liked the idea, made the switch and it paid off for a tying goal. Ryan took a pass from Staal and found defenseman Anton Babchuk for a one-timer from the point and a 1-1 tie, and the Canes went on to win 2-1 in a shootout.
"He was skating. Clearly he's got lots of jump right now," Maurice said of Ryan, a callup from the Albany River Rats.
And extra motivation Thursday. Ryan played 65 games for the Sabres the last two season before signing a free-agent contract with the Canes.
"It's his old team, so he's excited," Maurice said. "And it was the right time for him not to think about it. You start him there, he thinks about it all day -- he's playing with Eric Staal.
"We're down one. The pressure in some ways comes off a player like that. He's got good jump and he's rolling pretty good."
Ryan was all smiles after the game, clearly enjoying beating the Sabres. He has several buddies on the team and said he went out to eat with some of them Wednesday night.
"It was pretty hard-fought game, probably like a playoff game," Ryan said."I felt like I had a lot of energy. Obviously it's a team I used to play for. It didn't take a lot to get up for this game.
"It was an exciting 65 minutes and then the shootout. It was one of the most exciting games I've been involved in in a long time."