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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Name Strong Lineup for Opener

Thursday, 09.17.2009 / 1:15 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Name Strong Lineup for Opener
The Hurricanes will be fielding a formidable mixture of rookie and veteran talent in their exhibition opener at home on Friday night.

Paul Branecky
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Scheduled to participate is the first line of Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole and also the second unit of Matt Cullen, Ray Whitney and Chad LaRose. The top defensive pairing of Tim Gleason and Joe Corvo will suit up, as will starting goaltender Cam Ward.

A few of Group B’s top offensive players will also play, as Zach Boychuk and Brandon Sutter are in. Full lineup:

                              Ruutu – Staal – Cole
                             Whitney – Cullen – LaRose
                          Blanchard – Ryan – Dwyer
Conboy – Sutter – Boychuk
 
Gleason – Corvo
Harrison – Ward
Rodney – Carson 

Ward
Peters

Friday’s game is the first of four exhibition games, with Head Coach Paul Maurice saying that he plans for his veterans to play either two or three contests. Which ones get the extra game will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“Everybody is different,” said Maurice. “Some guys feel they need the games to get ready and some guys have had enough exhibition games over the course of their career that they don’t need to be on them.”

Of course, there are still challenges. Having someone of Rod Brind’Amour’s resume travel for an exhibition game, which he’ll do for Monday’s game at Atlanta, isn’t the ideal situation. However, the coach felt it was necessary this time in order to get certain power play groups together.

“It is a little unusual when you have a Stanley Cup and the career list like his, and he doesn’t get the first home game and travels for the first road game,” said Maurice. “Also, that’s the nature of Roddy, because he doesn’t complain or care.”

Some of Group B’s higher-end skaters will likely play in all four games in order for the coaching staff to get an extensive evaluation of their progress and readiness to compete at the NHL level this season.

That decision, combined with the time already being taken up by veterans, means that some players in camp won’t get to participate. That’s usually the case from year to year, with the smaller amount of scheduled exhibition games offsetting the smaller number of players in camp.

“There will be players in that B group that we’d like to get in a game but just won’t get a game because of the number,” said Maurice. “At the same time, I would rather sacrifice that than play nine exhibition games and spend the first five games just filling holes with the guys and saying ‘Let’s wait until the last two or three until we get serious.’”

Maurice said that defenseman Joni Pitkanen, whose recovery from a minor knee surgery is apparently progressing nicely, is expected to participate fully in Tuesday’s practice and play in the team’s final two exhibition games – at home Friday against Atlanta and at Nashville the following day.

Compatriot Jussi Jokinen has continued to practice with Group A in a non-contact jersey and handle pucks, although he is not yet shooting at full strength.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61