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Effort was There in Ottawa Loss

Wednesday, 02.25.2009 / 1:28 PM ET / 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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47


J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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