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LaCouture Stars in Red/White Game

Sunday, 09.21.2008 / 5:36 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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LaCouture Stars in Red\/White Game
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Free agent tryout Dan LaCouture made the most of his opportunity at the Red/White game Sunday afternoon, scoring two goals and an assist to take first-star honors in the red team's 6-3 victory.

Paul Branecky
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LaCouture, one of five players in camp currently without a contract at the NHL or AHL level or whose rights aren't owned by the team, is trying to play his way back into the league after a brief stint last year with Lugano of the Swiss league.  The 31-year-old left wing has 326 NHL games under his belt, although is last full season came with the Boston Bruins in 2005-06.

"I want back in the worst way," he said.  "I've been out for a year and a half, and now I'm having to prove myself all over again."

So far, so good.

"Dan looked good," said Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette, who watched the game as a spectator rather than from behind the bench.  "I thought he looked strong on his skates and strong on the puck.  You could tell he was an experienced player - he's played games in the NHL. It's an opportunity for him, and he did real well."

LaCouture, who has scored 43 points and racked up 338 penalty minutes in his career, set up linemate Dwight Helminen for the game's opening goal on a centering pass from behind the net.  He scored himself seven minutes later by batting a Dennis Seidenberg rebound out of mid-air, and struck again on a nice wrist shot over the shoulder of white team goaltender David Leggio in the second.

"I'm not trying to think too far ahead," LaCouture said after the game.  "When you're younger you think too much and you get your head full of all sorts of crazy thoughts.  For me, I'm just trying to have a clear head, just live for today, give it all I've got and see what happens."

Hurricanes defenseman Dennis Seidenberg also had a three-point night, picking up the primary assist on both of LaCouture's goals and on Ryan Bayda's tally late in the third period that iced the game for the red team.

Another free-agent tryout, Jeff O'Neill, got on the board four minutes into the third period after finding the puck in a goalmouth scramble, waiting for an open look and depositing it in the net to put the red team up 5-2.

"I'm close," said O'Neill, who is working his way back into game shape after a year off from hockey.  "Once I get a couple of exhibition games under my belt, it will only get better."

"He's come into camp with a serious approach like he's trying to make this team," said Laviolette.  "Tonight was his first opportunity back in a game situation, and to be honest I thought he got better as the game went on.  It's a starting point for him, and now he'll get some exhibition games to showcase it even more."

Team white defenseman Anton Babchuk left the game after the first period, but Laviolette said after the game that the team was mostly being cautious about his knee.

"He has a chance to be on the ice tomorrow," said Laviolette.

According to the rules of the scrimmage, each penalty automatically resulted in a penalty shot.  There were four in the game, with the red team's Joe Jensen getting three all to himself.  Goaltender Daniel Manzato saved the first, Jensen scored on a forehand-to-backhand move on the second and hit the post on the same move on his third attempt. 

Robert Slaney of the white team beat Justin Peters for the other, while Stefan Chaput and Jakub Petruzalek scored the other goals for team white.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81