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Gameday: Canes Close Out Preseason in Nashville

Saturday, 10.1.2011 / 1:20 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Close Out Preseason in Nashville

The Carolina Hurricanes will play their final preseason game of the year tonight in Nashville. Coming off a 3-2 loss last night, this quick turnaround gives the team a chance to correct some of the small things that just weren’t quite right.

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Among those problems was a lack of offense from the top two scoring lines and little execution and sharpness on the power play, according to head coach Paul Maurice.

At the same time, if those elements of their game aren’t firing on all cylinders tonight, it’s not a complete cause for concern; there is still a week left of hard practices before the regular season begins.

“It’s growing pains. We brought in some new players, and as part of coming together, we’re going to have some pains,” Patrick Dwyer said. “But we went over it – what we need to fix – and we still have a little bit of time before the regular season starts to fix it. I think we’ll be alright.”

Dwyer potted one of the two goals for the Canes last night, stuffing in his own rebound after Anthony Stewart set him up. Though the fourth line is typically the energy line, the trio of Stewart, Tim Brent and Dwyer showed they could provide some offensive spark as well.

“The longer we can keep it in the offensive zone and change the momentum in games, the more ice time we’re going to get as a line,” Dwyer said. “That’s our job – to bring energy every night.”

“There’s some offense there, and some different elements,” Maurice said. “Really good speed on the wings. And [Brent] is smart down low, and he can make some plays.”

Despite the success of the fourth line last night, minor injuries to Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen have forced a shake-up in the combinations for tonight. Drayson Bowman has been re-called from Charlotte, and will skate on the fourth line with Brent and Riley Nash.

Joni Pitkanen is also out of the lineup tonight, which allows 19-year-old Justin Faulk to slide up into the top pairing with Tim Gleason. As camp has progressed, Maurice has been more impressed with Faulk’s game, so much so that he might work his way into the top six on a regular basis this season.

“I like his game,” Maurice said. “What he is very good at presents itself whether you’re playing a skilled team or a hard, grinding team. I haven’t seen any reason to think of him differently than a good, NHL defenseman. There just hasn’t been a hole.

“I’m almost moving to the point that you start thinking about this guy the way you thought about Jeff Skinner last year – just play him. Don’t worry about his age. Just play him.”

Ryan Murphy will make his way back in the lineup tonight, and he will be paired with Bryan Allen, a duo that Maurice has liked throughout camp because of how the two complement each other.

“They have each something to offer the other. I’ve liked Bryan Allen’s camp a lot,” Maurice said. “He’s a specific kind of presence out there, and he’s willing to take care of the people around him, so that’s a good guy for Murph to be on the ice with.”

As has been said before, wins and losses don’t matter in the preseason. But at 1-4, the Hurricanes would surely like to end the exhibition season on a good note.

“To be as good as we can be, we need to get out of our comfort level. And that means grinding and really going,” he said. “I haven’t given them a day off for a reason. I got some guys that are dragging and I know it, and I’m fine with that. We need to have all this grinding now.”

Here’s a look at the lines for tonight:

Ponikarovsky – Staal – Dalpe
Skinner – Ruutu – Stewart
Tlusty – Sutter – Dwyer
Bowman – Brent – Nash

Gleason – Faulk
Joslin – McBain
Allen – Murphy

Boucher
Ward

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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