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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 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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