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Gameday: Canes Ice Veteran Group

Friday, 09.23.2011 / 12:53 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith

When the Canes take the ice tonight to face Nashville in the preseason home opener, a good portion of the team will look familiar come opening night.

Michael Smith
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What have been the top two lines throughout camp are in the lineup up front, and on the back-end, two of the three pairings will most likely be seen in October, as well.

“It’s kind of a split squad,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “But it’s more of our high-end.”

The third and fourth forward lines comprise young guys fighting for roster spots, save Tim Brent. Among them are Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman.

“I’m not even looking for a guy spiking and having a good practice,” Maurice said. “Now that we’re into the grind, I’m looking for the guys who can maintain what they’re doing.

“They have to believe they deserve to be here. It happened with Jay Harrison last year. And he is a different man in practice now.”

Anthony Stewart, who has seen a lot of game-situations in terms of scrimmages and a preseason game in Buffalo, will be in the lineup again tonight. As has been the case in camp, he’ll skate on the wing with Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu.

“Ruutu is a big, strong body who can skate and Skinner is highly-skilled,” he said. “It’s been great so far, and I look forward to playing with them tonight.”

Tonight will be Stewart’s first real-game experience in front of his new home crowd. He said he’s excited to be back on the RBC Center ice, especially after the atmosphere of the Red-White Game.

“If it’s anything like the turnout in the Caniac Carnival, it should be good,” he said. “We got a pretty good lineup in tonight, so we expect to put on a good show and build on things that we’ve been working on since the beginning of camp.”

One aspect of his game that Stewart has been personally focused on is adjusting to the new system in Raleigh, something that has taken time but has been made easier with the assistance of the coaching staff.

“It’s a bit of a challenge and it’s going to take the full three weeks of camp to get used to it,” he said. “The coaching has been great, especially with Rod Brind’Amour pulling me aside for video and working on small things. I think we’re on target to be ready for opening night.”

With the exception of free-agent signee Tomas Kaberle, two of the defensive lines for tonight will be familiar. The third D-line will feature an oft mentioned young pairing from this year’s camp – Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy. The two saw some time together on the power play in Buffalo on Monday night but were in different pairings at even strength.

“I think they need to be seen again,” Maurice said. “They will both play some day. When that is, we’ll see. Experience now is invaluable for them.”

Notes: Patrick Dwyer worked out with Pete Friesen this morning … He and Chad LaRose will probably be back on the ice early next week … Derek Joslin skated twice this morning and was the seventh defenseman in the game group … He missed the beginning of training camp due to illness, but Maurice said his numbers look good … Maurice also said that the coaching staff really liked Joslin’s game at the end of last season, and Joslin figures to be in the mix to grab a spot on the team

Here’s a look at the lineup for the Canes tonight:

Ponikarovsky – Staal – Jokinen
Skinner – Ruutu – Stewart
Terry – Brent – Boychuk
Brett Sutter – Nash – Bowman

Pitkanen – Gleason
Kaberle – McBain
Faulk – Murphy

Ward
Peters

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SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

[SSS_STANDINGS.METROPOLITAN_DIVISION_LABEL]
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
2 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
3 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
4 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
5 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
6 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
7 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
8 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 79 21 40 -13 61
J. Skinner 71 33 21 -14 54
A. Sekera 74 11 33 4 44
A. Semin 65 22 20 1 42
J. Staal 82 15 25 2 40
J. Faulk 76 5 27 -9 32
N. Gerbe 81 16 15 -6 31
J. Tlusty 68 16 14 2 30
R. Nash 73 10 14 0 24
P. Dwyer 75 8 14 -2 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 19 14 1 .926 2.30
C. Ward 10 12 6 .898 3.06
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