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Samsonov rejoins lineup; O'Sullivan out

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Canes coach Paul Maurice said forward Sergei Samsonov would rejoin the lineup tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes and that Patrick O'Sullivan would be a healthy scratch.

Maurice wanted to wait until after the morning skate to see about the status of Samsonov, who has missed the last two games, and center Brandon Sutter, who had an upper-body concern.

"He feels better, he feel stronger," Maurice said of Sutter, who has not missed any playing time. "We were hopeful of that, that after some days off (between games) he would have better strength. He's ready."

Samsonov missed the first two games of the season with a sprained neck, then played in two games taking a stick in the face. He sat out the games against the San Jose Sharks and LA Kings.

Of the decision to sit O'Sullivan, Maurice said, "Not really a statement on Paddy's game. It's more about how roles and things are being looked at.

"We've got some younger players on Paddy Dwyer's line. I really liked the way they finished in LA. They need the opportunity to continue that or we'll make decisions when we get back home."

Jiri Tlusty has been on a conditioning stint with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) and should soon be recalled, Maurice said.

"We've got some decisions that need to be made," Maurice said. "I want to give those young guys a good opportunity to show what they're willing to do."

O'Sullivan was a healthy scratch against Ottawa in the first game of the five-game road trip. He returned to the lineup for Vancouver and scored the Canes' only goal in a 5-1 loss to the Canucks. O'Sullivan was a minus-2 against the Kings.

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at chip.alexander@newsobserver.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.
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