Tracking the Storm

Canes Bring Momentum Back Home

Saturday, 04.18.2009 / 1:26 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Bring Momentum Back Home
It may have been a little more adventurous than they had wanted, but the Canes have come home with all you can ask for when playing the first two games on the road – the split.

Paul Branecky
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After a dominating performance by New Jersey in Game 1, Carolina also accomplished their goal of reversing the momentum of the match-up, as overtime wins in the postseason can often do. Think of how different things might have been if the Canes returned home down 2-0 and with nothing to show for their improved effort

Now, it’s essentially a five-game series, with three of them coming at the RBC Center, which should give the Canes an advantage.

“It does, and I think we’ve seen that in the last few months,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “I go back to the 5-4 Islander game and the crowd got behind the team before we had given them a reason to and gave us a real good push. It will be good in the playoffs.”

“We’ve got to take advantage of our home ice now, and it starts with Sunday,” said Eric Staal. “I think the guys are excited, are fans are going to be ready and rocking pretty loud in our building.”

For players like Tuomo Ruutu who will be playing their first ever home playoff game, having somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 fans meet the team at the airport around 1 a.m. Saturday provided a sneak peek of what that atmosphere might be like. 

“It was something special,” he said. “Somebody was saying there might be some fans there, and I was like ‘Are you joking or what?’ I wasn’t really expecting it.”

After the initial flat performance on Wednesday, it was up to the Canes to respond by matching the Devils’ intensity, which they did quite nicely, led by Staal’s goal and de facto assist on screening New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur on Tim Gleason’s game-winner.

“We had a great effort from everybody from goalie on out,” said Gleason, who will also play his first home playoff game tomorrow.  “It was a great pass from Joe Corvo and a good screen from Eric Staal, and that’s pretty much why it went in.

“I’m not too much of a talented guy,” he added. “I pretty much just wanted to hit the net and tried to shoot it as hard as I could. I didn’t know where it was going; I just wanted to hit the net.”

It’s important to note that there wasn’t much of a drop off in how New Jersey played from Game 1 to Game 2, but the Canes were just that much better, making it exactly the type of game that was expected leading into the series.

“Yesterday we played playoff-type hockey,” said Ruutu. “We had all the emotion in the game that you can have, and that’s the bottom line and the way we have to play.”

The Devils suffered the first injury casualty of the series, as captain Jamie Langenbrunner left last night’s game in the second period and is out indefinitely, with his status for Sunday night’s Game 3 in Raleigh uncertain. 

In Game 1, Langenbrunner scored moments after Ray Whitney claimed the Canes first goal, quickly erasing Carolina’s comeback hopes. He was the Devils’ third-leading scorer in the regular season with 69 points, 29 of them goals.

“That kind of player is a really important piece to any team,” said Hurricanes Coach Paul Maurice. “But New Jersey’s strength is their structure, it always has been, and they are the team that survives injuries. They’ve always been able to do that – lose key players and have enough depth that it didn’t really affect their game.

On the Canes side, Maurice said he did not expect to make any changes to his Game 2 lineup.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72