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Canes Looking for Physical Balance

Sunday, 04.19.2009 / 11:42 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Looking for Physical Balance
Audio: Paul Maurice | Erik Cole

With both teams carrying the play for prolonged spells, a genuine and mutual dislike brewing and overtime needed to settle things, Game 2 indicated that this should end up being quite a series.

Paul Branecky
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It’s actually of the few across the league that are shaping up to be that way. Of all the series which have played two games, this is the only one that is tied 1-1. All the others have seen teams take 2-0 leads, with even the traditionally close 4/5 match-ups fairly one-sided at this point.

With the next two games at home and the momentum seemingly on their side, the Canes have a chance to follow the current NHL trend and create some distance between themselves and their opponent. However, the Devils have played extremely well in both games so far (with the possible exception of their power play in Game 2, although credit should go to Cam Ward and the Canes’ penalty kill for that), so wins should still be hard to come by.

Although the pressure isn’t necessarily on them to respond in the same way they had to after such a poor performance in Game 1, the Canes will still try to bring the physical intensity they showed in Game 2, although perhaps in a somewhat more controlled manner.

“That’s the challenge for us,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “We brought a lot of emotion into that game based on Game 1, and now we’ve got to settle into the series now and play as physically as we can, keeping in mind we’re not going out there to try to run the other team out of the building – we’re not built to do that.

“I think what [the physical play] did was allow to play a little stronger on the puck, where we were really struggling. We were the least-penalized team in the league over the regular season, and that’s usually an advantage for our team.”

With the Devils unlikely to waver much from their strong performance in both games, it’s certain the Canes will need every bit of the intensity that allowed them to win the last meeting.

“I think last game we realized what it takes,” said Tuomo Ruutu, who registered five hits in Game 2.  “That was a close game that we were lucky to win in overtime, and I think we realized how hard we had to work just to even get there.”

The Devils will have a bit of a different look for the upcoming games at the RBC Center, as captain and first-line winger Jamie Langenbrunner has been officially ruled out with a somewhat mysterious lower body injury (aren’t they all mysterious at this time of year?). That will create some shuffling on New Jersey’s side, with someone like Brian Rolston or Brendan Shanahan likely to take his place among the top six forwards. Veteran Bobby Holik will most likely enter the lineup in a checking role.

There will be no lineup changes on the Carolina side. Matt Cullen did not practice today and was not available in the locker room after practice, but Maurice said that he is fine and will play tonight.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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