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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 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