Tracking the Storm

Happy Homecoming for Canes

Sunday, 10.10.2010 / 11:57 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Happy Homecoming for Canes
It was all smiles on the RBC Center ice on Sunday, jet leg and all.

And why not? After two wins over the Minnesota Wild at the NHL Premiere in Finland, they began the skate as one of just four 2-0 teams around the league. It was a trip that not only saw them take the maximum amount of points, but one that seems to have taken advantage of all the anticipated team-building aspects.

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“They seem to be getting along pretty darn well,” said coach Paul Maurice.

They’ll need that chemistry again. While they’ve passed the European test with flying colors, their biggest challenge may be yet to come. On Wednesday, the Canes leave for a five-game road trip that won’t take them as far as Russia but will actually be even longer in terms of amount of days away from home.

As successful as the overseas trip has been, it may not be until a few more weeks that they know how they'll look back on the entire experience.

“Everybody says that it’s the week or two after you get back (that’s the hardest),” said Maurice, adding that he wasn’t sure if that meant from now or from after the travel finally ends ahead of the home opener on Oct. 27.

Much like their first practice in St. Petersburg exactly one week earlier, this Sunday’s practice on home ice was designed to simply get the legs moving again. The coaches didn’t ask much of the players from the short session, but will again due so when they resume practice on Tuesday.

The makeup of the group was slightly different due to Saturday’s AHL assignments of Brett Carson, Justin Pogge and Bobby Sanguinetti. One of the defensemen could be back for the road trip, as the Canes won’t want to be caught without reinforcements should one of their established NHL players be injured during a west-coast morning skate.

Sunday’s session also saw the return of Sergei Samsonov, who joined the group in a non-contact jersey, marking his first appearance since suffering a neck strain during the Sept. 25 exhibition game in Atlanta. According to Maurice, Samsonov could play in the road-trip opener in Ottawa in Thursday, which could prompt another tough lineup call.

“We’d have to make a decision on who would come out for him, and after two wins and some pretty good play by all our players, we’d have to take a look at that pretty close before we put him back in,” said Maurice.

There’s also the question of when Cam Ward should get a rest, not that he looked like he needed it in the second Helsinki game on Friday. The goaltender, who made 42 saves and was perfect on three shootout attempts during that win, often plays his best under his heaviest workload.

“I don’t know why that is,” said Ward. “I might have been a little bit overhyped in the first game (on Thursday), but from the drop of the puck (on Friday) I felt really calm and really relaxed and it showed out there.”

Although Maurice said he was inclined to rest Ward and hand at least one start to Justin Peters during the upcoming five-game swing, it wouldn’t necessarily be during the back-to-back set in San Jose and Los Angeles that begins on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

“It may not be those games that we pick for him,” said Maurice. “We may look at his schedule and say, ‘Here’s a day where he could take four mental days off in terms of not having to play a game, and maybe that makes more sense.’”

Sitting the Vancouver game one week from today would accomplish just that.

The Hurricanes are off the ice Monday, which is the make-up day for the rained-out Kids ‘N Community Golf Tournament.


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72