Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders

Wednesday, 11.03.2010 / 11:44 AM / 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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 61 12 28 -16 40
E. Staal 56 18 19 -10 37
E. Lindholm 60 11 16 -16 27
J. Skinner 56 16 10 -16 26
R. Nash 58 7 15 -9 22
N. Gerbe 57 7 15 -11 22
V. Rask 59 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 61 6 12 3 18
J. Staal 25 4 12 -2 16
A. Nestrasil 33 4 10 4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 19 4 .913 2.37
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60