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Tracking the Storm

Canes are "Almost There"

Thursday, 10.15.2009 / 1:34 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes are \"Almost There\"
One of the evils surrounding the shootout is that a loss can still feel devastating despite a hard-earned point in the standings having already been secured. Wednesday’s game against Pittsburgh was a welcome exception.

Paul Branecky
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The Canes did enough good things in that contest, namely a Ray Whitney-led two-goal comeback in the third period against the defending Stanely Cup champions, to feel pretty good about themselves the morning after. That’s not to say they would ever settle for anything less than two points, but in the prehistoric pre-shootout world, that would have been one of the so-called “good ties.”

“I don’t think any of us really [felt too bad about it],” said defenseman Tim Gleason. “It was a really good team out there, and we finally played the way we wanted to play. Our forecheck was on, our back-pressure was there and our special teams were good.”

”We’re almost there,” said Coach Paul Maurice of the Canes’ overall play. “There are still some improvements that we’re looking for, but there’s a lot more that the players understand. They’re more attentive in those areas. It was better.”

It didn’t hurt that goaltender Cam Ward made a string of great saves, one of which on Bill Guerin that has to be a save of the year candidate, to help his team come back in the game. Ward said afterwards that he wasn’t thrilled with himself after allowing Evgeni Malkin to score from a sharp-angle in the second period, but his response thereafter should serve as Exhibit A in how he’s matured in recent years.

”He almost doesn’t even show it,” said Gleason of Ward’s emotions during games. “He’s so focused all the time, whether he’s frustrated or playing well, that you don’t even notice the difference.”

”I think he was right not to be excited about [Malkin’s goal], but then I think you almost have to watch the Guerin one a few times to really appreciate how good that one was,” said Maurice.

Please feel free to do so:


NHL.com puts together weekly goals, saves and hits of the week lists, and I would be shocked if that particular save, along with Tuomo Ruutu’s crushing hit on Kris Letang, didn’t put the Canes atop two of those lists in the coming days. I’ll be sure to share when they become available.

Joni Pitkanen practiced with the team on Thursday, marking the first time he’s done so since his early exit from last week’s home victory against
Tampa Bay. Although he says he’s feeling better, he and Maurice both said that they wouldn’t know until tomorrow if real progress has been made.

Eric Staal again sat out practice, just as he did one day prior to the Penguins game. Joining him on the sidelines were Matt Cullen, Cam Ward and Ray Whitney, who presumably all sat out for maintenance reasons. As of right now, I wouldn’t expect any of them to miss game time unless we learn otherwise tomorrow.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 71 22 28 -12 50
J. Faulk 76 15 32 -19 47
E. Lindholm 75 16 21 -20 37
J. Skinner 71 18 13 -22 31
V. Rask 74 11 20 -13 31
N. Gerbe 72 9 17 -13 26
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. McClement 76 7 13 -5 20
J. Staal 40 4 16 -6 20
J. Liles 51 2 17 -8 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 22 5 .909 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60