Staal set to return as winless ‘Canes battle Canucks

( – The winless Carolina Hurricanes will welcome Eric Staal
back into the lineup on Tuesday night.

It couldn’t come any sooner.

The Hurricanes try to avoid an eighth straight setback to begin the season on
Tuesday night as they visit the Vancouver Canucks.

Staal has missed the past five games with an upper-body injury, one of several
players to miss time already this season. Staal’s brother Jordan has not
played yet due to a broken right fibula, while a concussion sidelined Jeff
Skinner for a few games earlier in the month.

Eric Staal, who has proven rather durable over his career with just 20 games
missed due to injury, figures to return right the first line between Jiri
Tlusty and Alexander Semin.

“He’s a big, strong guy,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said on his team’s
website. “Now you’re able to bump guys down in the lineup to where they should
be as young guys, and it just gives you a little more depth at that position.”

Carolina’s 0-5-2 start in the worst in franchise history and the club was
bested 6-3 by the Edmonton Oilers last time out on Friday. Skinner, Riley Nash
and Jay Harrison all scored, but the Oilers finished the game with three
unanswered goals in the third period.

Harrison also had an assist and Anton Khudobin made 23 saves.

“The effort was fine. I thought we competed and did good things,” Peters said.
“We need a win here sooner rather than later.”

Cam Ward will start for Carolina tonight and is 2-3-1 with a 3.33 goals
against average and .882 save percentage in six prior meetings with Vancouver.

While the return of Staal should provide a boost, the Hurricanes will be
looking to win in Vancouver for the first time since Oct. 15, 1999. They have
lost six straight as the guest in this series since.

The Canucks look to make it two victories in a row overall tonight as they
bested the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Sunday. Henrik Sedin, Nick Bonino and
Luca Sbisa all scored during a 1:47 span late in the second period.

Ryan Miller made 20 saves and Radim Vrbata added an empty-net goal for the
Canucks, who had dropped three of their last four games coming in. Chris
Higgins added two assists.

“I thought we defended pretty well,” Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins
said. “Miller came up with some big saves for sure.”

Miller is 13-9-4 with a 2.67 GAA and .914 save percentage lifetime versus