Flyers vs. Hurricanes
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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
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 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

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