Devils vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Maurice Not Happy with Performance vs. Nashville

Saturday, 09.24.2011 / 12:27 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Maurice Not Happy with Performance vs. Nashville

Carolina Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice made it clear that there wasn’t a lot that he liked in last night’s preseason home opener against the Nashville Predators.

Michael Smith
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Luckily, when the team is still in the player evaluation stage, results don’t matter much. Still, wins, losses and chemistry of line combinations will certainly come into play in the coming week, especially as the roster continues to be trimmed in preparation for the start of the regular season.

“We’ll move to that after tomorrow’s game,” Maurice said. “At some point we have to start assessing the lines and D-pairings. I’m still not 100% sold on the way they’re shaking out now.

“I didn’t think we did very many things well,” he said of last night’s 3-2 loss. “We had five puck-moving defensemen in the lineup last night, and we didn’t move the puck.”

Defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who was playing in his first preseason game with his new team, agreed that defensive positioning as a group wasn’t up to par.

“I thought we had a good first period, and then we kind of slowed down,” he said. “I think we still have a few holes. Mistakes are going to happen, but we’re going to work on it in these four games we have left in the preseason.”

One player who did stand out last night was forward Brett Sutter. After coming over from Calgary in November of last year, Sutter spent the majority of the season in Charlotte. He played in one game for the Canes, earning just 4:09 of ice time. Last night, he played nearly 15 minutes and was noticeable all over the ice.

“He looks quicker this year. He’s a fit man, and he’s got some grit and some bite that you would expect from that name,” Maurice said. “For me, he’s working his way up, and he’ll be here a little longer.”

With the injury bug floating around, Sutter might be making a case to play on opening night. If he isn’t in the lineup come October 7, he is certainly positioning himself to be an early call-up.

“It’s going to be very difficult for a player to beat out the 12 we have penciled in right now,” Maurice said. “But what he’s [Sutter] trying to do is get as close as he can to that number 13. After last night, he’s definitely moving toward it.”

Another player who received high marks, though he’s not necessarily fighting for a spot on the team, was forward Alexei Ponikarovsky. His two early-period goals gave the Canes offensive life and a big presence around the net.

“He learned some really good things in LA being in that defensive role, and that added to his game,” Maurice said. “But when he was in Toronto, he thought of himself as a guy that could score some goals.
“I want him shooting the puck and driving the net. Then I want Staal playing off him.”

Though not finalized yet, Maurice said tomorrow’s game group for Charlotte will be similar to that of last night. Cam Ward is slated to play the full 60 minutes in net, while Brian Boucher will see a full game in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

INJURY UPDATE
  • Tim Brent left the game with a lower-body injury last night, what turned out to be a cut. He received stitches on the surface, and is being held out of skates now to guard against infection.
  • Tuomo Ruutu has a minor lower-body injury, and did not skate today. “There’s really nothing with that," Maurice said.
  • Patrick Dwyer and Chad LaRose skated in the second session today. “These are all really minor things that we’re being careful with,” Maurice said.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62