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Canes Leave for First Real Trip

Friday, 10.16.2009 / 12:50 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Leave for First Real Trip
First, a few injury notes from Friday’s practice, which was the last before an honest-to-goodness road trip that doesn’t involve midnight travel after a home game:

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Joni Pitkanen practiced with the team for the second consecutive day, indicating that all went well for him after a full session on Thursday. He will make the trip to face the New Jersey Devils regardless, and if he continues to feel good tomorrow, Coach Paul Maurice said there’s a chance that he may play.

Eric Staal was the only absence from practice (besides Erik Cole and Michael Ryan, of course), marking the second consecutive day that he’s stayed off the ice. He also sat out the day before the most recent contest against Pittsburgh, but played the following night. Maurice said that will again be the case tomorrow.

”We’re trying to get him back to 100 percent,” said Maurice. “Could he have practiced yesterday and today? Absolutely. It’s not like we’re just trying to get him through the next game. We’ve got a couple of blocks here where if we can get him to 100 percent that we do.”

Despite having already played two sets of back-to-back games, it has been an unusually spread out schedule for the Canes thus far. They haven’t yet had to play three games in four nights (that happens next week) and will have had three separate three-day breaks before the end of October. What that amounts to is more potential “maintenance” days such as yesterday’s, which saw Matt Cullen, Cam Ward and Ray Whitney sit out only to return today.

The schedule has also prevented the team from taking a more traditional road swing with a relaxed afternoon flight and a full night spent in a different city until now, which Maurice believes will do the team some good.

”We’re probably the only team in the league that hasn’t had a real road trip yet,” he said. “We’ve had two road games, but then you’re flying after and we didn’t stay overnight or go out. This is the first time guys will be able to go out to dinner and get to know each other a bit, because we do have some new guys.”

Although the New Jersey game is just a single-game trip, it is actually the first of four consecutive road games for Carolina. The team may regret longing for time spent on the road after playing in New York (Islanders), Colorado and Minnesota during a four-day stretch next week.

The Devils play at home tonight against Atlanta, a situation that the Canes can empathize with after playing rested teams on the second half of each of their previous back-to-back contests, losses in Boston in Tampa Bay.  The media in New Jersey is wondering if the Devils may look past the Thrashers in preparation of a playoff rematch against the Canes (Carolina will have played all three playoff opponents from last season in the first seven games of 2009-10), but the Devils are saying the right things, anyway.

"Obviously you're still a little upset, but it's over and it's done with," Zach Parise told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. "It's a different team here now. You can't concern yourself with what happened last year. Just make sure we play well against them."

With Martin Brodeur set to make the start tonight, there’s a chance the Canes will be the opponent for backup Yann Danis’ first start as a Devil, although the lack of travel in between games may leave Brodeur feeling good enough to play both.


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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