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Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Power Play a Focus for Game 4

Monday, 04.20.2009 / 2:59 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Power Play a Focus for Game 4
Although the Canes didn’t skate today following last night’s loss, they did have a team video session at the RBC Center this morning, the focus of which was on the team’ struggling power play.

Paul Branecky
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The Devils killed off all five Carolina chances in Game 3, any one of which could have been the difference in the overtime loss. While that was unfortunate in itself, Coach Paul Maurice was more upset with the lack of quality chances his team generated in the process.

“We gave it to those guys something fierce today,” he said. “The power play is ebb and flow, and when you’re confident you see more motion and more quickness, and when it’s not going it’s stagnant and it’s standing. We’ll remind them of what our power play looks like when it’s good, and we’ll go through what we’re seeing right now.”

New Jersey has been limiting the Canes’ chances at even strength, which was more or less expected heading into the series. However, it may be that mounting tension from that experience has spilled over into man advantage situations, which doesn’t have to be the case.

“They’ve got good penalty killing, and we’ve just got to stay focused on what we do well and keep doing that stuff,” said Tuomo Ruutu. “If you get frustrated you start doing stuff you haven’t done the whole year, and that’s not good. We’ve got to do what we do best in staying simple and shooting the puck, and I think it’s going to come from there.”

Carolina’s power play had been successful in the latter part of the year and particularly in the regular season series between the two clubs, posting a sterling 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) conversion rate. Anton Babchuk was especially effective in that regard, but the Devils, who made a point of focusing on the big defenseman heading into the series, have limited him to just two shots thus far.

“There’s a group killing the penalty out there that’s doing a pretty darned good job, and they’re not going to change what they do in their mindset,” said Maurice. “They get to shooting lanes and they’re very aggressive.”

While credit should be given to the Devils in that regard, there’s more the Canes can do. Maurice pointed to an telling collision between two Hurricanes players at the opposition blue line during a second period power play - an unforced error that wasted several precious seconds.

“We were a ways off what we’d like to do,” he said. “Confidence, speed, puck movement – those things all go into feeling good about your power play. We’ll try to make some adjustments so we can do those things easier.”

“We’ve got to get it in there by making sure we’re coming through the neutral zone with some speed,” said Eric Staal. “Power plays can be big, and we’ve got to stay positive, stay attacking the net and when we get that opportunity try to cash in.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 60 39 16 5 162 133 83
2 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
3 NYR 59 37 16 6 186 145 80
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 60 26 21 13 145 169 65
10 PHI 61 26 24 11 162 178 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 59 26 29 4 155 184 56
14 TOR 60 24 31 5 167 183 53
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 61 18 38 5 114 204 41

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
J. Tlusty 52 13 10 -17 23
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73