Tracking the Storm

Series Living up to its Billing

Monday, 04.20.2009 / 10:50 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Series Living up to its Billing
Many thought this would be one of the closest first-round series across the league this postseason. After two consecutive overtime decisions, Carolina and New Jersey have shown that will indeed be the case.

Paul Branecky
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Now that the Hurricanes have worked their tails off for the majority of those two games, things are about as even as they can get. They have a very tough opponent in New Jersey, who has shaken off any doubts caused by its late-season slump. There are teams that entered the postseason with more fanfare than the Devils, but it’s hard to imagine a tougher opponent in this series.

We knew how responsible New Jersey is defensively, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the Canes have managed only five goals in the first three games. That being said, they’ve done a much better job of banging bodies and cycling the puck down low, which they’ll have to continue doing to be successful and eventually get some breaks. Grinders like Ryan Bayda, Patrick Eaves and Scott Walker put in notable performances in that regard last night.

There’s a new poll on the front page about this now, so feel free to have your own input either there or on the beards, but my feeling is that if there’s one thing the Canes could improve upon, it’s clearing the puck out of their own zone when under pressure. 

Both of New Jersey’s goals in regulation came seconds after a Carolina defenseman had controlled possession of the puck behind the net (one a little more obvious than the other). Zach Parise’s goal last night was eerily similar to Mike Mottau’s goal in Game 1, where a hasty clearing attempt was sent to a well-covered Carolina player on the boards, allowing New Jersey to gain control of the puck and fire a quick shot on net that caught the Canes off guard.

That hasn’t been something the Hurricanes have been doing consistently throughout entire games, but it seems like each instance comes back to bite them. In a tight series that will come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes, eliminating those should go a long way.

You can’t ask for a much better effort than the Canes gave last night, and more often than not they’ll win if they bring that kind of intensity to a series that demands plenty of it. Here’s hoping that’s the case in a crucial Game 4 at the RBC Center.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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