Tracking the Storm

Maurice: The Time is Now

Tuesday, 12.30.2008 / 10:12 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Maurice: The Time is Now
In terms of strength of schedule, December was one of the toughest months of the year for the Hurricanes. Now that they’ve posted a 5-4-3 record heading into the month’s final game against Atlanta on New Year’s Eve, coach Paul Maurice is looking to make a run in a lighter January.

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“Now we’ve got to make hay,” he said. “Now we’ve got to go. We know the numbers that we’re going to have to reach, but now is the time. We can stick around .500 or a little above .500 against some of the best teams in the league if we want to use that, but now we’ve got to go.”

Including the upcoming Atlanta game, nine of the team’s 13 games in December are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today – more than in any other month. In addition to those nine, one of the games against a “non-playoff team,” a trip to Minnesota to end a travel-heavy road trip, wasn’t exactly a pushover.

Now they’ll enter January, where only five of their 13 games are against teams currently on pace to make the postseason. That’s the lowest of any month with more than five regular season games on the schedule.

It even goes deeper than that. In today’s no-tie NHL where win/loss records and point totals are inflated across the league, only seven teams are under .500. The Hurricanes play seven games against those teams in January.

With the calendar setting up favorably in the first part of 2009, Maurice feels like the team played well enough through arguably the toughest part of their schedule to move up in the standings going forward.

“In the last two or three weeks we’ve got three regulation losses, and that’s two against Boston and one in Minnesota at the end of a tough trip,” said Maurice. “I would suggest that we’re playing reasonably well.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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