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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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HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81