Tracking the Storm

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 - 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