Tracking the Storm

Canes Feeling Good for Florida

Wednesday, 02.11.2009 / 12:26 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Feeling Good for Florida
Paul Maurice audio

After practicing fully yesterday, it seemed that Dennis Seidenberg’s injured groin had healed to the point where he could return to the lineup for tomorrow’s game against Florida – all that remained to be seen was if he could make it through today’s practice.
Paul Branecky
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Well, he wasn’t out there at all, so that’s probably not looking good. Bryan Rodney and Niclas Wallin were paired together, and since Seidenberg’s absence caused there to be an odd number of blueliners, Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy was paired with Frank Kaberle.

Although an accomplished defenseman and one-time All-Star in his 10-year NHL playing career, McCarthy took a big spill while skating backwards on one particular drill, much to the delight and cheers of all involved. Even Paul Maurice was seen raising his arms in a bit of good-natured fun. 

Clearly, the team is in a pretty good mood after winning six of their last eight. 

“We encourage it,” said Maurice of the loose atmosphere. “We encourage a positive mental attitude going into this game, and really something we wanted to improve with this team is communication on the ice. We try to get these guys talking as much as they can, and that usually leads to the occasional jab and shot, which brings your practice to a new level.”

That isn’t to say that the Canes were goofing around, which definitely was not the case. Maurice was also happy with the work ethic, which has been consistently good dating back to their trip to Buffalo two weeks ago. They’ll need that again for tomorrow night’s game against Florida, which is about as big as they can get, at least in February.

While recent slumps by Montreal and the New York Rangers have opened up the playoff race a little more, Carolina and Florida are among a group of teams that will be competing for playoff spots down the stretch. Heading into the game, the Panthers, who have one more point than the Hurricanes with a game in hand, have the upper hand in the standings. Carolina could reclaim the eight seed with a regulation win tomorrow.

Both teams have been playing well lately – Florida has won five of seven and is 10-3-3 in 2009 – but Maurice is counting on home-ice advantage to give the Canes the edge tomorrow.

“The last game that we played against Atlanta, the fans were buzzing before the puck was even dropped, and I think that had a big part to do with it being our best period in two and a half months – we were flying,” he said. “I think clearly Florida will put up a lot stiffer defense against that kind of game, but I think if we can do enough on the ice to get our crowd going, it energizes our team and we’re tough to beat.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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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