Bruins vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Samsonov Back to His Old Ways

Friday, 01.2.2009 / 10:19 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Samsonov Back to His Old Ways
There’s no doubt he’s been effective for the last month and a half, but with his three-point performance on New Year’s Eve, now is as good a time as any to officially say it.
Sergei Samsonov is back.
Paul Branecky
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Including his first goal of the season on November 18 against Montreal, the Russian winger has 16 points in his last 20 games, which is very close to the 32 in 28 pace from the end of last season after the Hurricanes claimed him on waivers from Chicago.

With such a prolonged period of consistent offensive production and a firm spot on the left side of the team’s first line with Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu, his struggles from earlier in this season seem to be fully behind him.

“I was fortunate enough where coaches kept me on the ice and kept putting me in key situations,” said Samsonov. “Many teams would just cut your ice time, and that would be the end of it where it’s even harder to get out. I appreciate the patience when they stuck with me, and I think that’s the biggest thing when you’re struggling to still get those minutes where you eventually start to contribute. Being in the right situation helps.”

While every player goes through slumps at some point in the season, Samsonov feels his was harder to get out of because it happened at the start of the season before he had established the confidence that comes with a stretch of good play.

“Absolutely,” he said. “You start guessing everything. It’s not something that I’m doing (now), and hopefully that’s behind me. I went through it and I know how to deal with it, but it’s not the easiest thing to deal with.”

As for what he’s doing differently on the ice now as opposed to when he went pointless in the season’s first 10 games, coach Paul Maurice said that moving his feet at all times has made him more effective.

“The only thing I ever said to him was for me coaching against him, I think his game is based on his feet, not his hands,” said Maurice. “He’s a very quick, agile skater, and in the games that we always had a hard time playing against him, he was moving. Whether he had the puck or not, he was skating and he was darting. 

“When I think he’s playing his best, it will look like he’s really handling the puck well and making good decisions, but I think that’s all based on his feet. When he’s moving and getting himself into holes, he’s buying himself time to do all those things.

Samsonov, who checks in at 5-foot-8 and 188 pounds, agreed.

“I have to skate to be a threat,” he said. “I don’t think I can just go and outmuscle guys that are 6’5” and 240. My game is quickness and trying to skate around you.”

Now, with his shiftiness, Ruutu’s physical play and Staal also nearing the top of his game, the Hurricanes’ first unit should have no problem leading the way for the rest of the season.

“I think we’re getting to know each other a little bit better,” Samsonov said. “We’ve been playing together now for a while and we understand each other pretty well. In practices and games, it seems like we have some good chemistry going.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 69 21 28 -11 49
J. Faulk 74 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 73 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 69 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 72 11 20 -11 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 70 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 74 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 46 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 38 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62