Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Adding Offense Begins with Power Play

Monday, 12.27.2010 / 12:34 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Adding Offense Begins with Power Play
While the Canes have been trying to generate more offense all year in all situations, it comes down to the power play for coach Paul Maurice.

Paul Branecky
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In Sunday night’s home loss to Washington, two consecutive penalties by the visitors just minutes after Tuomo Ruutu had made the score 3-2 seemed to give the Hurricanes a serious lifeline, but the team was only able to generate one shot on goal via Jeff Skinner.

”(The power play) is your primary opportunity,” said Maurice. “We need to put pucks in the net there.”

In order to do so and improve a unit that is ranked 27th in the league with a 15.5 percent conversion rate, Maurice said he would look at giving different players more of an opportunity on a set third grouping (teams typically have just two). He specifically mentioned Brandon Sutter, who has featured heavily in that role in the past, and Chad LaRose, who has never scored a power-play goal.

“We’ve held back on those guys a little bit because it’s about running the bench,” he said. The next line off the bench is always (the opposition’s) best players.”

Maurice said that the top group would still feature some of his best offensive players in Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu. He added that lines at even strength would remain the same from the Washington game, and that he was hoping to get a little more offense out of Sutter’s line with LaRose and Patrick Dwyer.

“I’d like to see the Sutter line put some pucks in the net, just through work ethic and grinding it out,” he said.

That was part of the focus on a lengthy video session the coaching staff held Monday morning that Maurice said was aimed at establishing consistency in all areas of the ice. That comes after the Canes have dropped a season-high three games in a row – a streak that was preceded by a season-best four-game winning streak.

”We just have to keep believing and getting better to survive,” said Maurice. “We talked about being in striking distance when we got through this month and we were in a real good spot a week ago and in less of a good spot now, no question.”

Although he disagrees with the call, defenseman Tim Gleason, speaking to the media for the first time since the Washington game, was diplomatic in assessing the events that resulted in his ejection late in the first period for a charging major on Mathieu Perreault.

“I don’t think it was dirty at all, I just finished a hit,” he said. “I’m sure it didn’t help my case that he was bleeding, but the call was made, they thought it was the right call at the time, and so be it.”

Gleason, who played just 5:42 on the night, said he was surprised by both the ejection and the roughing major on Washington’s Matt Hendricks, who appeared to instigate a fight following the hit.

“I thought I was kicked out for the period because I got in a fight, and lo and behold it wasn’t a fight,” he said. “I found out later on that it was a misconduct. The referees are in a tough situation to make a quick call like that, and they did what they had to do and thought it was right at the time.”

Fellow blue liner Joni Pitkanen got the day off from Monday’s practice after playing a season-high 33:20 in Washington’s game. That ice time was a result of Gleason’s absence, that left the Canes with just five defenseman. He is expected to play in Toronto Tuesday night.

According to Maurice, forward Jiri Tlusty is still a week away from returning from the upper-body injury he suffered on Dec. 16 in Atlanta.


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 71 22 28 -12 50
J. Faulk 76 15 32 -19 47
E. Lindholm 75 16 21 -20 37
J. Skinner 71 18 13 -22 31
V. Rask 74 11 20 -13 31
N. Gerbe 72 9 17 -13 26
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. McClement 76 7 13 -5 20
A. Nestrasil 48 7 13 5 20
J. Staal 40 4 16 -6 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 22 5 .909 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60