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As Usual, Rangers Game Should be Physical

Wednesday, 04.1.2009 / 3:19 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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As Usual, Rangers Game Should be Physical
Whenever the Hurricanes and Rangers meet, it always seems to be a physical affair. No one is expecting any different tomorrow night.

Paul Branecky
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It used to be that the Canes, who aren’t necessarily built for that style of play, would have a tough time matching the aggressiveness of certain opponents.  An example that immediately comes to mind is a game that took place the day after Christmas last season, which saw the team leave Madison Square Garden both insulted (a 4-2 loss) and injured (Matt Cullen suffered his well-documented concussion, Andrew Ladd’s orbital bone was broken in a post-whistle scrum), prompting enforcer Wade Brookbank’s first recall to Carolina.

Things were a little different in the most recent meeting between Eastern Conference playoff challengers, a 3-0 win for the Canes on March 9. The Rangers, led by Sean Avery, came out banging as usual with 30 hits, but the Hurricanes were able to respond nicely with 27 of their own.

“I think we’ve found a way to answer whatever level of physicality we find in a game,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “I don’t think we’re going out there and trying to run teams out of the building, but (the most recent game in) Jersey wasn’t an overly physical game, then it built and we responded to that."

“I think (Thursday) will be a physical game with high tempo and good energy,” said Chad LaRose, who isn’t the biggest player on the team but never backs down from such a challenge. “They’re a good team and they’re big and physical too, so it makes us aware and makes our physicality come out.”

In Tuomo Ruutu (11th), Erik Cole (30th) and Tim Gleason (33rd), the Hurricanes actually have three players among the lead leaders in hits. Although it’s admittedly an imperfect and subjective stat, those rankings probably don’t come as a surprise to those who watch Carolina play on a regular basis.

Continuing to stay in the game from a physical standpoint should be a key to beating the Rangers, which would be another huge step towards the playoffs.

“I think physicality is huge for both teams,” said Gleason. “Especially for us on home ice to get the crowd behind us to gain momentum and go from there.”

Thursday practice notes:
  • Still no Matt Cullen at today’s practice. Scott Walker had his second consecutive day going through a lengthy session with the full team, and remains a post-morning-skate decision for tomorrow. Even after losing four teeth during today’s practice (can this guy catch a break?), Walker stayed out and finished the session.

    “They weren’t real, so he wasn’t in too much pain,” said Maurice. “He was disgusted more than anything else.”

    Maurice said that the likely rough nature of tomorrow’s game as mentioned above would not be a deterrent in Walker’s return.

    “When Scotty goes back into the lineup, we will have done all we can because he pronounced himself ready to play two weeks ago,” said Maurice. “We’ve skated him and we’ve over-tested him. He wanted to play in the Washington game in Washington (on March 14), so we’ve felt him out a while.”

  • Tim Conboy was back with the forwards today after practicing with the defensemen yesterday. Maurice said yesterday that he moved the natural defenseman back to the blueline so that he could have an even number of defensemen (eight) to make running drills a less-complicated process, and that he did not plan to make a lineup change.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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