Tracking the Storm

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.

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