Lindy Ruff has used seven defensemen and 11 forwards for the past five games, but the coach said that could change Thursday against Carolina. Nathan Gerbe is the reason why.
Gerbe had an assist and three shots on goal Tuesday against Philadelphia, joining with linemates Paul Gaustad and Cody McCormick to create several scoring chances. Gerbe had been scratched in the previous four games because of Ruff's lineup switch and only dressed because the flu struck center Luke Adam, who returned to practice today and will be available to play.
"It was a pretty good game for myself for not playing for a bit," Gerbe said. "Jumping back into it, I wanted to make sure I got my feet going and play a pretty smart game. I thought I did that."
Did he do enough to persuade Ruff to use four lines?
"I hope so, but that’s out of my control," Gerbe said. "Whatever games I’m playing, I’ll show up and play and do my best. That’s all I can do."
Said Ruff on a return to 12 forwards and six defensemen: "I think it’s a possibility looking at the schedule right now. We’re 4-1-1 in the last six. I don’t want to let really what I look at as one period of hockey ruin what we had going. It hurts. You learn from it. Nobody likes losing, but we have to move on."