The Hurricanes play their second game of the 2017-18 season Tuesday at 7 p.m. at PNC Arena before heading on the road for four games over the next two weeks. Carolina (1-0) is looking to head west with four points in hand, while the Blue Jackets (1-1) have played two lopsided games, winning 5-0 at home Friday over the Islanders and losing 5-1 the next night at Chicago. Here are some notes to prepare for Tuesday’s Metropolitan Division game.
- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk left Saturday’s opener against the Minnesota Wild after crashing into the boards in the third period, returning 11 minutes later to finish out the game. But van Riemsdyk was absent from Monday’s practice and again at today’s morning skate. On Monday coach Bill Peters said he was dealing with knee and ankle issues, but amended that Tuesday. “He’s still got some lower body issues and everything else, but diagnosed with a concussion so he started the protocol.”
- That means Klas Dahlbeck, Carolina’s reserve defenseman, will slide into van Riemsdyk’s spot on the third pairing. “I think we’re going to do a good job. I’m playing on my off side tonight, so that’s a little bit out of my regular, but I think we’re going to do great,” said the left-handed Dahlbeck, who will play on the right in order to keep rookie Haydn Fleury on his natural side.
- Losing van Riemsdyk is an early-season blow to the Hurricanes D, but Peters seemed confident in Dahlbeck’s ability to step in. “I think it’s great for Dally,” Peters said. “Instead of having to wait, right? You never know how long you have to wait.”
- Among those waiting is Josh Jooris, who will be healthy scratch for the second straight game. “Juice is sitting again here tonight and he’s wondering when his turn comes,” Peters said. “I can’t tell him right now for sure. Every day something happens and you get your opportunity you gotta capitalize on it.”
- The other guy yet to dress is 2017 first round pick Martin Necas. The team tried him out at wing late in the preseason when it became clear Lee Stempniak — who still hasn’t returned to practice — would not be ready to start the year. But Janne Kuokkanen seized that job — Peters praised his play Monday after practice — and it looks like Necas is back to being a center exclusively. “If we’re going to develop him to be a top-six center he’s gotta play center,” Peters said when asked about the possibility of Necas getting a shot at right wing.
- Peters said no decision has yet been made on whether to keep Necas on the roster or where to send him. The fact he’s still around and Peters said he’s not playing because “we don’t have a center opening, we have a winger opening,” leads one to believe he could get a look in the middle before a final decision is made. The obvious choice would be taking Derek Ryan’s spot on the third line, with Ryan moving to the wing and someone else (Kuokkanen? Brock McGinn?) taking a night off. That remains to be seen.
- The Blue Jackets did not hold a morning skate, something coach John Tortorella has sworn off of. One thing we do know is Josh Anderson, a preseason holdout for Columbus, will make his season debut tonight. He’ll reportedly slot on the third line with Matt Calvert and center Brandon Dubinsky.
- Anderson’s insertion into the lineup means former Hurricanes draft pick Zac Dalpe is out. It also bumps rookie Sonny Milano — who has goals in each of Columbus’ games this year — down to the fourth line.
- It will be a Blackhawks reunion tonight with new Columbus winger Artemi Panarin facing off against old teammates Scott Darling, Marcus Kruger and Teuvo Teravainen.