Bruins vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes' Last Big Trip a Tough One

Monday, 02.7.2011 / 3:14 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes\' Last Big Trip a Tough One
The Hurricanes will soon see the road-heavy first half of their schedule even out over the stretch drive, but not before enduring a very difficult trip over the next week.

Paul Branecky
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On Tuesday, the Canes begin a four-game swing that won’t see them return home until Sunday night. In addition to playing Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, the Eastern Conference’s top two seeds through Sunday’s games, they’ll also face a resurgent New Jersey team before wrapping things up against Atlanta - their main competition for a playoff spot over the last several weeks.

“We’re going to play some very difficult teams,” said coach Paul Maurice. “(Knowing) how to play these important games on the road is a necessity for a team that wants that playoff success. You have to be able to win very tight games against good opponents on the road.”

The trip kicks off against a Devils team that endured a nightmare start to the season but has righted the ship since bringing back former coach Jacques Lemaire. The Devils are 9-1-2 in their last 12 games, but won’t have starting goaltender Martin Brodeur (knee) available to face Carolina on Tuesday, with Johan Hedberg expected to start.

The scheduling of the season series is unfortunate for the Hurricanes, who faced the Devils just once during their difficult first half – a 6-3 victory on New Year’s Day – but will see them three times over the next 12 days now that they’re at the top of their game. After this trip, the Canes will only be in Raleigh for two days before leaving for New Jersey once again.

“That’s the way we’ve played them for the last 10 years – at their best it seems,” said Maurice. “We missed the two and a half months where they had a bit of a struggle, and now we get them back as normal.”

The trip wraps up Sunday against the Thrashers, who will be waiting at home while the Canes take on Tampa Bay one night earlier.

“There’s only one back-to-back in it, but unfortunately it’s at the end with the team that we’re tied with,” said Maurice.

As daunting as this trip may seem, the Hurricanes can take comfort in that it will be their last prolonged period away from home for the rest of the season. Once they’re back, 17 of their remaining 25 games will be at the RBC Center, with only single-game road trips remaining on either side of longer home stretches.

The team will also be glad to bring some confidence with them, as they’ll depart on a high note following Saturday’s big overtime win against the Atlanta Thrashers. Had they faltered in that game and continued to find themselves out of playoff position, things may have been more difficult.

“That’s the kind of win you want to build off and take momentum from,” said Eric Staal. “As a whole, it was a playoff-type game that we battled through.”

It looks as though the Canes will be without Jussi Jokinen for the duration of the trip, with coach Paul Maurice saying that he did not expect the Finnish forward to leave with the team on Monday. That means Zach Boychuk, who played limited minutes on the fourth line in the Canes’ last game but played well, will get a longer look.

Other than Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu was the only player to miss practice on Monday. Maurice said that his second-line center had been feeling ill but is not expected to miss any games.

“Anytime now at this point in the season when someone’s feeling a little under the weather, you try have them spend as little time with the rest of the team as possible,” said Maurice. “He was feeling probably worse Saturday night and played.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 69 21 28 -11 49
J. Faulk 74 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 73 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 69 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 72 11 20 -11 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 70 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 74 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 46 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 38 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62