Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Canes vs. Pittsburgh

Wednesday, 10.14.2009 / 11:22 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Gameday: Canes vs. Pittsburgh
Continuing a trend of early-season playoff rematches that extends into Saturday’s trip to New Jersey, the Canes will tonight get another crack at the team that eliminated them last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Paul Branecky
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Carolina players and coaches have been fielding questions about getting revenge on their postseason nemeses over the last few days, but most are reserved in their comments. After all, it was an unfortunately short four-game series, with a Ryan Bayda near-suspension for high-sticking being the only memorable controversy. The Penguins certainly didn’t hold a grudge against Bayda, signing him to a two-way deal just before this season (he’s currently with their AHL team in Scranton/Wilkes Barre).

“That series wasn’t overly vicious,” said Hurricanes Coach Paul Maurice. “I don’t think there was too much left in that. Maybe a few guys have something they’d like to square away, but for the most part it was a pretty cleanly played series.”

"It's not going to be about last year," said Eric Staal, who added that he is feeling much better and will play tonight as expected.  "We're just looking for two points here."

However, a little motivation for the Canes based on last season’s exit could go a long way, as they found out firsthand in a 7-2 road loss to the Boston Bruins on the second game of the season.

“We were on the other side of that dynamic in Boston and didn’t enjoy it too much,” said Maurice. “Hopefully there’s something there.”

The Penguins bring mostly the same team from last spring into Raleigh this time around, with Jay McKee coming into the lineup in place of Rob Scuderi, who has since signed with Los Angeles, ranking as the biggest change.

Pittsburgh is currently tied for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, making it to 5-1-0 the hard way by winning all four of their road contests against the Islanders, Flyers, Maple Leafs and Senators, one of which is obviously more impressive than the others. Since Dan Bylsma took over as coach towards the end of last season, the Penguins are 12-2-3 on the road.

Loved this partial quote from Bill Guerin in response to a question from the Penguins’ official site about the secret to the team’s success away from home:

”First of all I think we’re good,” said Guerin.

Confidence is never a bad thing. However, the Pens are
1-4-1 in their last six games in Raleigh, not including the most recent postseason.

Pittsburgh’s only loss of the season is to the Phoenix Coyotes, a game they may have taken lightly in anticipation of their victorious trip to Philadelphia the following night.  Also impressive was the Penguins’ season-opening win against the New York Rangers, who have won five in a row since and are off to their traditionally fast start.

Eric's brother Jordan Staal is among the hottest Penguins players with goals in each of his last three games.

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