Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Canes Ice Veteran Group

Friday, 09.23.2011 / 12:53 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Ice Veteran Group

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

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