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Working out the Power Play

Tuesday, 10.21.2008 / 3:59 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky

The Canes had their first home practice in about a week today, and the focus was on an area that has proven to be a bit problematic since then – the power play.

Paul Branecky
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After starting the season with four goals on their first 13 chances, the Canes are in an 0-13 slump dating back to the loss against Detroit on October 13.  I’m not sure what to make of the excessive appearance of the unlucky number 13 in that stat, which I didn’t realize until I typed it just now.

The two power play units had a bit of a different look today, with Joe Corvo and Pitkanen no longer working on the same unit.  Corvo was paired with Dennis Seidenberg on Eric Staal’s unit with Sergei Samsonov and Ryan Bayda, while Pitkanen worked with Anton Babchuk on Rod Brind’Amour’s group with Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen.

“It’s just been sloppy,” said coach Peter Laviolette of the power play.  “It’s been sloppy on the breakout, it’s been a bit sloppy and predictable.  We’ve got the right guys out there – they’re guys that have proven they can excel with the power play.  We add new pieces out there too and just the chemistry and maybe just finding out what we like.”

The foot injury to Frantisek Kaberle has opened the door for Babchuk, who dressed for the first time last Sunday after being a healthy scratch for the team’s first four games.  Known for his hard shot, Babchuk, who scored 26 points in 57 Russian games last season, saw a little time on the power play against Anaheim and figures to do so again in the near future.

“He’s a skilled guy,” said Laviolette.  “He put up a lot of points last year in the Russian league.  We used him on the power play when he was here a couple of years ago.  It’s an opportunity, and he looked real good out there.”

As much of an opportunity the current situation presents for Babchuk to prove he belongs in the regular lineup, Bayda will also be looking to deliver in an increased role that he earned by scoring three points in the Canes’ first five games.  He’s only seen bits and pieces of power play time thus far, but is in line for more on Thursday if Ruutu can’t play.

Speaking of Ruutu, he skated on his own prior to today’s practice, but didn’t participate in the full team session.  We’ll see if he’s able to get more involved tomorrow.  If he can’t go on Thursday and no roster moves are made, the Canes will be forced to dress seven defenseman, opening the door for Josef Melichar to make his Hurricanes debut.

Carquest

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STANDINGS

[SSS_STANDINGS.METROPOLITAN_DIVISION_LABEL]
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06
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