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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 - 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