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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.

SCHEDULE

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