Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Scoring Depth Key for Hurricanes

Thursday, 04.23.2009 / 11:11 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Scoring Depth Key for Hurricanes
It didn’t seem like it for much of the season due to injuries, but good health and a few trades have transformed the Hurricanes into a deep offensive team.

Paul Branecky
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As we saw in Games 3 and 4 in Raleigh, the team’s fourth line of Ryan Bayda, Jussi Jokinen and Scott Walker, all of which can play higher in the lineup and probably would be on many other teams, can score big goals in addition to providing an energy boost.

That trio netted a goal in each of the aforementioned home games, not counting Jokinen’s dramatic Game 4 winner that came while skating with Rod Brind’Amour and Sergei Samsonov. 

No disrespect to the 2006 fourth line of Craig Adams, Kevyn Adams and Chad LaRose, but even that team didn’t have the same scoring depth. Although that unit played very well in a shutdown role, it combined for just one assist in the playoffs.

Perhaps in this series more than any other, scoring balance has been important. With a structured system, reliable defensemen and excellent checking forwards such as John Madden, the New Jersey Devils make a living by limiting the chances of the opposition’s high-end players. That being said, Eric Staal’s two goals in four games aren’t a bad return. 

That’s going to happen against New Jersey, which is what makes the contributions of others more important. While the Devils’ best defensive players are keyed on Carolina’s scoring lines, others need to step up. We all know what the big guys can do, but depth players can often be the X factor in the playoffs. So far, so good in that regard.

On the New Jersey side, their overall depth has taken a hit as Jamie Langenbrunner and Bryce Salvador seem unlikely to play tonight. Langenbrunner, who normally plays on the team’s top scoring line, missed Games 2 and 3 with a lower body injury. Salvador, a physical defenseman, appeared to suffer a knee injury in Game 5 and left the game in the second period.

The Canes are scheduled to take the Prudential Center ice at noon today, so we’ll have audio from players and coaches, as well as any other updates, shortly afterwards.

One update on Sunday’s game at the RBC Center – New York’s win over Washington last night means that Game 6 in that series is still not assured. Since the Hurricanes’ start time on Sunday depends on that series, we won’t know when the puck drops at the RBC Center until after its next game on Friday night. If Washington wins, the Canes are at 7:30. If the Rangers win and end the series, the Canes are at 2.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60