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Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Staal Expected to Play Friday

Wednesday, 03.23.2011 / 2:52 PM / 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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 23 4 11 -1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73