Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders

Wednesday, 11.3.2010 / 11:44 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
X
Share with your Friends


Gameday: Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders
Though the Hurricanes aren’t yet concerned about their ability to score goals moving forward, they have made some changes that they believe will help them net their first at the RBC Center tonight.

Paul Branecky
Follow on Twitter
In order to break their 120-minute home goal drought to start the season, coach Paul Maurice has moved 18-year-old Jeff Skinner to the left wing with Eric Staal and Chad LaRose. That unites the team’s top two scorers in Skinner (8 points) and Staal (7).

“We didn’t create enough offense over the last couple of games, so this is a little bit of a change,” said Staal. “(Skinner)’s a great offensive guy with great offensive instincts, and we’ll see how it goes tonight.”

“He controls the puck really well on offense,” said Maurice of Skinner. “He has a great offensive instinct to find people or take it to the net himself, he can hang on to the puck and he makes very few mistakes. He’s just a real good player, and the fact of the matter is that he’s our leading scorer.”

The move breaks up the successful line of Skinner, Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole that accounted for all four of the Hurricanes’ goals against the New York Rangers last Friday. According to Maurice, that’s the point.

“We’re going to look at moving different people around to get a little more offense on more than one line,” he said.

Maurice said that shifting could continue during the game tonight, particularly at the left wing position. All four players at that position switched lines heading into Wednesday’s morning skate, with Jussi Jokinen now on Ruutu’s line, Jiri Tlusty with Brandon Sutter and Sergei Samsonov with Jon Matsumoto. Full lines can be found here.

The team’s lineup will include defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who was questionable with an upper-body injury but took the morning skate and will play against the Islanders tonight.

Even though the Hurricanes’ next goal in their own building will be their first, it doesn’t seem as though that’s weighing on their minds at this point.

“We’re not thinking about that now and we shouldn’t be thinking about it,” said Chad LaRose. “We’re getting a lot of chances here, and when we get one I’m sure the floodgates are going to open.”

“I don’t think it has to be like that yet,” said Maurice. “We’ve gotten enough chances, and I don’t think we feel like we’re starved for goals to the point that we would get nervous or change our game.”

The question of whether the Canes will be able to generate enough offense long-term was a question even before the season started, but they’ve had enough games where they’ve scored four or even five goals to cancel out the goose eggs at home. However, it is something that management will continue to monitor moving forward.

“Those are the things you have to watch,” said General Manager Jim Rutherford. “Once we have as many home games as away games, I’ll have a better idea of how that shakes down. We’ve generated a lot of good scoring chances and certainly had the opportunity to score.”

Tonight, the Canes will match up against a talented young team not unlike themselves. John Tavares, the 2009 No. 1 overall draft choice, is building on a solid rookie season and is looking to take the next step towards becoming an elite player. He’s a point-per-game player on the season, but his -8 rating is tied for last place on the team.

Like Skinner, defenseman James Wisniewski ranks along some of the most surprising players to lead their teams in scoring thus far. He has 11 points in 9 games, having missed 2 contests due to suspension for a lewd gesture.

“We’re both going to try to play the same game,” said Maurice. “I’m not sure we’re going to be able to deliver quite as much speed as they will tonight, but with effective puck managing hopefully we can stay with that speed and get some pucks to the net.”

The Hurricanes are 13-3-3 in the last 19 meetings between the two teams, and have not suffered a regulation loss in the last eight (6-0-2). Those two overtime losses came last season, as the Islanders defeated Carolina in that manner in the first two meetings of the season series.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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