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Staal Playing like Superstar in Last Three

Monday, 12.15.2008 / 12:41 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Staal Playing like Superstar in Last Three
Edit: Sorry I'm late on the audio - had to run over to WakeMed for one of today's hospital visits and didn't have time to post.  Here you go: Paul Maurice | Eric Staal

With four points in his last three games, his first three-game scoring streak of the season, there’s no question Eric Staal is playing his best hockey of the season of late.
Paul Branecky
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In addition to the sound defensive play he’s shown all season (now a team-leading +12), he’s finishing his chances and creating goals through hard work – the best example of which was the turnover he caused in the offensive zone that led to Tuomo Ruutu’s goal in New York.

As to why that’s happening, Paul Maurice hasn’t seen enough of the before to determine why the after is working so well.

“I can tell you what he’s doing right now, but I can’t tell you what he wasn’t doing before,” said Maurice. “Right now, he’s being a complete player for us. He’s trying to do both things, and we don’t have the puck he’s where he’s supposed to be.”

Actually, Maurice has seen the “before” version of Staal, and it was much earlier than most.

“I think at the end of the day it’s just power,” said Maurice. “When I remember him in training camp and early on in (the 2003-04) season, he was almost getting stuff done. He almost beat a guy, he almost got through two guys and he almost beat the goaltender. He was a kid, he was a boy, and he’s a man now.”

Staal isn’t the only big-name forward on the Hurricanes who has begun to flourish under Maurice. Ray Whitney has six points in Maurice’s five games, which reversed a streak of zero points in his previous five. Rod Brind’Amour was also scoreless in his last five prior to the coaching change, but now has four points with Maurice at the helm.

“Yeah, probably,” said Staal. “You get the confidence going some nights and you just try to do your best every game. It doesn’t matter who’s coaching. For me, it was just about getting the confidence in myself and my abilities and making sure I was getting the work ethic, and eventually it was going to come.”

Injury updates - Frank Kaberle returned to practice today and wasn’t expected to complete the whole session, but he did just that, looking good in the process. Anton Babchuk did some light skating work afterwards, while Niclas Wallin stayed off the ice entirely.


 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81