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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Feeling Good for Florida

Wednesday, 02.11.2009 / 12:26 PM / 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

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61