Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes Work Through Power-Play Block

Monday, 03.14.2011 / 2:33 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Canes Work Through Power-Play Block
As expected, the Hurricanes spent more time than usual working on their power play at Monday’s practice, but the emphasis wasn’t on X’s and O’s.

Instead, the team worked more on fundamentals as it attempts to snap out of a 3-for-61 skid on the man advantage spanning the last 15 games. That includes an 0-9 showing in Saturday’s loss to Columbus, which tied the most opportunities the Canes have had without scoring a goal since the lockout.

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“I don’t think we’re at a point right now where we’re going to be snapping around six-pass goals,” said coach Paul Maurice. “I think it’s going to have to be something that’s pretty direct and pretty deliberate, and then we’ve got to finish around the net.”

“We’re not trying to complicate things. It’s the opposite,” said Tuomo Ruutu. “We don’t have any secret plays out there.”

That in itself is nothing new. The Canes also spent some time working on the way they enter the offensive zone, but even that was a re-emphasis on old points.

That being said, the team is hoping to make its breakthrough mentally rather than physically.

“One gets in, the pressure comes off and the hands get a little looser around the net,” said Maurice.

While a third group featuring Brandon Sutter, Drayson Bowman and Chad LaRose spent some time working on the power play Monday, the first two groups that figure to get the bulk of the ice time remained unchanged. At forward, those mirrored the lines at even strength, with Eric Staal centering Cory Stillman and Ruutu on one and Jussi Jokinen skating with Erik Cole and Jeff Skinner on the other.

In other words, it’s the same groups that have been struggling for weeks, but that’s by design. Significant alterations haven’t always worked, as was the case with Cole running the point early in the Columbus game when the Blue Jackets registered a shorthanded goal.

“There’s a finite number of changes you can make,” said Maurice. “We added a third unit today that we can use tomorrow, but we’ve moved them around without success to the point where we’d like to get them out there, get one and just leave it and let them get some confidence and run with it. We’re going to have to score a goal for that to happen.”

They’ll have to do so without defenseman Jamie McBain, who missed Monday’s practice and was scheduled to undergo an MRI that afternoon to determine the severity of his upper-body injury suffered Friday night in Washington. McBain ranks third among Canes defensemen in power-play ice time per game behind Joni Pitkanen and Joe Corvo.

“We know what it is, we just don’t know the extent and the prognosis of how we’re going to move forward,” said Maurice of McBain.

Other than that, they’ll have a healthy team as they attempt to snap a streak of four games without a victory heading into back-to-back games with Buffalo and Toronto, who are just ahead and behind of them in the standings, respectively.

“These next two games are critical pieces to our season, there’s no question about that,” said Maurice. “Everybody is aware of it.”


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60