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Tracking the Storm

Toronto Rollercoaster Ends on High

Wednesday, 11.5.2008 / 10:38 AM ET / 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.

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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 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60