Devils vs. Hurricanes
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.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62