Tracking the Storm

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

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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