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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Effort was There in Ottawa Loss

Wednesday, 02.25.2009 / 1:28 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Effort was There in Ottawa Loss
Paul Maurice audio

Although the Hurricanes’ three-game winning streak was halted last night in Ottawa, the team has found some positives to carry over to tomorrow night’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Paul Branecky
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“We played a road game where we out-shot the home team 40-20,” said General Manager Jim Rutherford. “Those are games that you hope you get a few more breaks around the net, and it ended up that they got more breaks than we did, so we lost the game.

“There’s games that I can sit here the day after and be very disappointed and upset that the effort wasn’t there, but in a game like that where the visiting team puts up 40 shots, they’ve done something.”

Although Carolina did come out of that game with a 43-22 shot advantage, they ultimately trailed 4-2 in the only stat that matters. After falling behind 3-1 after the first period due to some poor team defense, the Canes had plenty of chances to get in the game but couldn’t quite poke home some good chances around Senators goaltender Alex Auld.

“I thought [Ottawa] played as well as I’ve seen them play,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “They skated well and they’ve got some good size back there to clear pucks out in front of the net. I don’t think there were easy shots around their goaltender, and Alex Auld is a big man who blocked a lot.”

Although Cam Ward was pulled from the game after the first period in favor of Michael Leighton, the Hurricanes’ starting netminder actually made several good saves to keep Ottawa off the board before Dany Heatley and Chris Kelly put away wide-open chances. That may have rattled Ward a bit, as he probably would have liked to have been a bit more conservative on Mike Comrie’s goal in the dying seconds of the opening frame.

Although Ward has been somewhat inconsistent recently, Maurice said he has full confidence in his starter going into tomorrow’s game against the Sabres, after which the winner (in regulation) will find itself in playoff position.

“I have such a high expectation of what this man can do and I really think the world of him as a goaltender, but some nights it’s just not going,” said Maurice of pulling Ward in Ottawa. “We’re at 3-1 on nine shots against and that’s not going to help us win a hockey game. Some nights you play very well as a goaltender and it’s deflections and things you can’t control that beat you. Last night, we left him alone with some pretty good players.”


  • Practice was limited again today, with only five or six players taking the ice. Among them was Scott Walker, who underwent his most strenuous skate yet but still has not practiced in a full team setting simply because there haven't been any lately.

    “He’s had a good week now of feeling strong and feeling good,” said Maurice of Walker.
  • Brandon Sutter was officially reassigned during practice, but is already on his way to Albany. He is eligible to play in tonight’s game at Bridgeport.

    “It’s too long to sit in the seven minute range and expect to get better,” said Maurice. “He’ll go down there and he’ll get into the 20-minute range, get feeling good, get a lot of reps out there and will be handling the puck a lot more in the offensive zone. When he comes back he’ll be a lot better player for us.”
  • One player who was played well in Sutter’s stead is forward Michael Ryan. Ryan was fairly anonymous in his first recall earlier this month, but has been much more effective this time around, earning his first point of the season by assisting on Patrick Eaves’ goal against the Senators.

    “I thought he showed some speed and really jumped on some pucks, so we played him a little bit more, and then when his legs feel better he goes faster,” said Maurice. “If a young guy comes in and starts to feel better about himself, you always wonder where that confidence will take him and how far he can go. He’s got big numbers in the American Hockey League.  Can we get that out of him here if we can get him to feel comfortable? We played him a little more and he showed some real good speed.”




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


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
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61