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Stepping up in San Jose

Friday, 02.6.2009 / 11:02 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Stepping up in San Jose
As disappointing as Tuesday’s loss in Vancouver was, last night’s huge shootout win in San Jose makes up for that in a big way.
Paul Branecky
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Coming into the game, San Jose had only been beaten four times at home all season. Four times! Getting points in the Shark Tank hasn’t been an easy thing to do this year, and for the Canes to accomplish that with big players out of the lineup and Cam Ward on the bench, not to mention having to rebound from the ugly way their last game ended – that’s impressive. I think we all would have been happy to come out of there with one point, making two a home run.

Credit goes to a lot of individuals for stepping up in this one, including Michael Leighton. I’m not sure you’ll find a tougher goaltending assignment than going into San Jose for your first game action in almost a month. With 37 saves and two more in the shootout, he certainly made the most of it. As good as Ward has been, it’s a big help to know that Ward can get a break here and there down the stretch and the team will be in solid hands.

Coming back from a goal down in the third period was made all the more remarkable by the fact that they did it without Eric Staal, who left the game with a lower body injury. From everything I’ve heard I think that he’ll be OK for Saturday – given the man’s track record with injuries and the need to keep winning games, he’d have to be seriously hurting not to be. Today’s scheduled practice in San Jose has been cancelled, but we’ll try to have an update on his status sometime this afternoon.

Continuing with the trend of stepping up, Matt Cullen played like a first-line center with Staal and Rod Brind’Amour out, setting up Ray Whitney with that great pass to tie the game. Cullen has an extra gear that he hits for long stretches every now and then, and with seven points in his last four games, that’s where he is right now.

A shoutout also goes to Jakub Petruzalek, who earned his first NHL point on his assist to Sergei Samsonov in the second period. Like fellow rookie Bryan Rodney, who earned his first NHL point in Vancouver, he didn’t look intimidated on his big-league debut, and was noticeable on several different occasions.

With every game being so important, I think these last few games have had a little something extra to them. Every goal is a little more uplifting, every goal against a little more disappointing. Should be a fun ride for the next two months.

Saturday’s game is a Cool Bars night over at the Carolina Ale House in Cary. If the Canes can come away with two more from that one, they would have four out of six on this road trip, which should be considered a big success.

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