Tracking the Storm

Staal Expected to Play Friday

Wednesday, 03.23.2011 / 2:52 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Staal Expected to Play Friday
They didn’t have him at practice, but the Canes still expect to have him for their next game.

Paul Branecky
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Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said that captain Eric Staal, who left Tuesday’s win against the Ottawa Senators with 10 minutes remaining and did not return, is expected to play Friday in Tampa Bay. Staal, who suffered a lower-body injury during the game, did not practice Wednesday and may also miss Thursday’s session.

“Our plan hasn’t changed,” said Maurice. “There were good signs today when he came in. We’ll keep him off the ice today and tomorrow, but we expect him to be full and ready to go.”

Maurice said that Staal wanted to return to the game with around six minutes remaining, but that the team decided to err on the side of caution with a two-goal load. The outcome of the game ended up being closer than the Canes would have hoped when Ottawa scored to bring it within one and applied significant pressure for the tying goal, but in the end, Staal wasn’t needed to seal the victory.

“We have to be able to win a game and close the deal without putting him at risk,” said Maurice. “It was a bit of a gamble, but I just didn’t want to put it at risk.”

Goaltender Cam Ward also did not skate on Tuesday, with the Canes sparing him from more and more practices as the season draws to a close in order to keep him fresh. In more of a surprise development, Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose were also off the ice, though Maurice said he had no concerns with either player.

“Rosey skated 300-400 miles last night, so I figured he had covered enough,” said Maurice. “Jussi just has some minor stuff, but there’s no issues with it.”

The Canes have another practice day on Thursday before departing to Tampa Bay for the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home set against the Lightning. Maurice said that the team would spend part of that time trying to figure out why they’ve had slow starts in their last two games against the New York Islanders and Ottawa.

“We talk about wanting to come and be real strong in the first period, and I don’t think we have been,” said Maurice. “I think we’ve been behind the puck a little bit and not pressing that offensive game where we really like to jump and go.

“It’s a bit of a concern for us. We’ve got to get to that loose anger earlier in the game. You can call it desperation, but it’s got to be more focused than that. It can’t be just one guy fighting like a dog. We have to move together a little better and a little quicker.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 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