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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.


 

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 54 14 19 2 33
J. Staal 56 12 21 8 33
J. Skinner 56 19 13 -1 32
K. Versteeg 55 11 21 1 32
E. Staal 56 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 56 8 17 -9 25
A. Nestrasil 49 9 12 1 21
J. Nordstrom 45 5 11 2 16
R. Hainsey 56 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 11 7 .909 2.35
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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