Devils vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes in Best Offensive Stretch of Season

Monday, 02.23.2009 / 3:02 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes in Best Offensive Stretch of Season
Audio: Paul Maurice | Ray Whitney

Not only have the Canes won their last three games, they’ve won them by fairy comfortable margins – something that couldn’t be said prior to February.

Paul Branecky
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Dating back to their win in Phoenix on February 7, each of the Hurricanes’ last five wins have been by at least three goals.  Prior to that, they hadn’t won by three or more since their first meeting with the Coyotes on November 21 – a span of 33 games.

“We played an awful lot of one-goal games for a long, long stretch of time, and now it seems that one team is going to score four or five,” said coach Paul Maurice.   ““The way our forwards are working up front has given us a chance to put a lot of offense on the board, so you’ve got some confidence in your room and the guys are moving the puck.”

In their current winning streak, the Canes have scored a total of 15 goals – easily the most they’ve had in any three-game stretch this season.  They’ve also out-shot their last two opponents, Tampa Bay and Colorado, by a combined 70-32 total.

Despite the recent high goal totals, the Canes actually could have scored more.  Sunday’s win over Colorado, in which Carolina put four past goaltender Andrew Raycroft, saw the home team come up empty on eight power play chances.  They also missed a few high percentage opportunities on open nets and breakaways.

By creating more chances, the Hurricanes are alleviating some pressure on themselves with the knowledge that each unsuccessful power play or missed scoring opportunity isn’t the end of the world. 

They also alleviate some pressure from goaltender Cam Ward, who doesn’t have to be brilliant simply to give his team a chance to win in games where the offense picks him up.  The Colorado game was a shining example of that, as the Hurricanes were able to rally ahead after the Avalanche took an early lead on a shot Ward would normally stop.

A big part of the offensive surge can be attributed to the line of Matt Cullen, Chad LaRose and Ray Whitney, who have combined for 13 points and a +16 plus/minus rating during the current three-game run.

“Cully over the last month and a half has been playing some of the best hockey of his career, I believe, and he was the best player on the ice [against Colorado],” said Whitney. “Chad LaRose has been playing some very good hockey of late too, and he’s a big part of our line.  He was a big part of Rod’s line when he was there, too.  Whoever gets to play with Chad actually gets a pretty good energizer bug out there.  He’s fun to play with.”

Against Ottawa
  • Maurice said that he didn’t expect any lineup changes tomorrow night from the win against Colorado.  That leaves Frantisek Kaberle and Brandon Sutter as healthy scratches.
     
  • Scott Walker was the only player to skate on Monday, which saw practice cancelled again as the team continues its stretch of 10 games in 17 days.  Maurice said he seemed close to being ready, but would need to get through some intense practices later this week before entering the lineup.

    Question – I’m sure 99.9 percent of you out there want Tim Conboy to stay in the lineup, and justifiably so, so what would you do when Walker is ready to come back in?  Discuss.
     
  • Prior to losing their last three games, Ottawa won five straight after dismissing coach Craig Hartsburg in favor of Cory Clouston.  Although likely in too big of a hole to make the playoffs, the Senators made a deal to improve their team last week, acquiring Chris Campoli and Mike Comrie from the New York Islanders in exchange for Dean McAmmond and a first-round pick.

    Maurice said that trade could energize the Senators.

    “Whenever you add someone it brings a little excitement into the room, and on the other part it takes a little bit of the focus away from where you’re at, especially there up north where they focus where they’re at all the time,” he said.  “It takes a little bit of pressure off the room.

    “We’re expecting the game you would have expected from Ottawa when you looked at their team at the start of the year.  They can skate, they’ve got two or three really high-end guys up front, and when they get their goaltending they’re a good team.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
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