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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Toronto Rollercoaster Ends on High

Wednesday, 11.05.2008 / 10:38 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Toronto Rollercoaster Ends on High

It was a rollercoaster ride, but ultimately a successful one for the Canes, who took both games of a home-and-home series with the Maple Leafs.  The teams combined for 19 goals through Sunday and Tuesday’s contests, with each team making a significant comeback.  The Canes came back from a 3-1 deficit in the first game, while the Leafs negated Carolina’s 4-1 lead last night.

Paul Branecky
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While the Canes won’t be happy with the nine goals they allowed to Toronto – mostly to the Grabovski-Hagman-Kulemin line - they did snap out of their goal scoring funk in a big way – mostly through the Helminen-LaRose-Ruutu line.  Carolina had only scored four goals through their previous three games.

Special teams have also become a difference maker (in a good way).  The power play went 4-6 against the Leafs, while the penalty kill went 4-5, including the huge kill of a 5-on-3 in the third period of last night’s game when Toronto had all the momentum.

However, I’m glad the guys from CanesVision were on the road for last night’s game, because I think we can see something from their postgame quotes video that might not have gotten across otherwise following last night’s 5-4 overtime victory.

The players don’t seem all that pleased.  There really isn’t a whole lot of difference between the demeanors of the Carolina players and those from Toronto, even though you might have expected the Canes to be feeling good after Niclas “The Weapon” Wallin’s winner made them 7-3-2 on the season.

The reason for that is because the Canes didn’t put in 60 minutes of good hockey last night, but rather 22 or so minutes (the first period and overtime) of great hockey.  The first period, during which the Canes took a 4-1 lead, was one of their best of the season, but the second and third periods, during which they were outshot 27-8 and outscored 3-0, won’t make any highlight videos.

Even though the result was a good one, I think it’s a good thing that the Canes aren’t completely satisfied.  They expect a lot of themselves, and it shows.  Hopefully they’re able to carry some momentum into tomorrow night’s important game against Washington, who 74 percent of you feel will be the biggest obstacle in Carolina’s bid to win the Southeast.

A few more notes from last night’s game:

  • I mentioned the Helminen-LaRose-Ruutu line above, but they are absolutely on fire right now, scoring five of the team's 10 goals against Toronto.  Thanks to injuries and players floating in and out of the lineup, Coach Peter Laviolette has had a tough time finding a line combination that clicks like those guys do.  They're taking a lot of pressure off of other lines to score.
     
  • Nice to see Sergei Samsonov play a big part of the winning goal last night.  His “dancing,” as it is often described, drew a lot of attention from the Toronto defense, who left Wallin wide open on the game-winner.  Samsonov has gone from pointless to point streak in two games.
     
  • Not to bore you too much, as it’s been mentioned in this space and on the podcast repeatedly prior to today, but for me, Dennis Seidenberg and Niclas Wallin are the story of the season for the Canes so far.  Key minutes, key goals and key defensive plays (Wallin is a league-leading +10, Seidenberg is third in the league with 37 blocked shots), all from two guys who weren’t guaranteed of starting spots before the season started.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61