Tracking the Storm

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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72