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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Lightning

2011-12 Season Picks Up Right Where 10-11 Left Off

Friday, 10.7.2011 / 11:58 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Lightning

In game 82 of the 2010-11 season, the then already-playoff-bound Tampa Bay Lightning came to Raleigh to face off with the playoff-hungry Carolina Hurricanes in the season finale.

Michael Smith
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In order to reach the postseason, all the Canes had to do was win. Backed by a partisan home crowd in a do or die game against a familiar division opponent, what could go wrong?

A lot did. The Bolts thrashed the Hurricanes 6-2 in a game that just never felt right, even when Chad LaRose brought the Canes within striking distance at 4-2 about midway through the third period.

Two days shy of exactly six months later, the two teams meet again in game one of the 2011-12 season. A fresh start. A clean slate.

The players – including the ones who weren’t here at the conclusion of last season – were clearly excited to get the season underway. The short skate this morning was vocal and quick-paced.

Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice was also visibly eager for the season to begin.

“This is exciting,” he said. “It’s funny. You almost forget about it. You know it’s going to be exciting, and then you get to that day and it’s Christmas Eve again. You’re just excited about the fresh start, and everybody’s optimistic and feeling good.”

In this morning’s brief skate, the Canes did not reveal any of their lines, but Maurice said they would start with the same combinations seen yesterday.

“I think we are set up to be good the way we are, and there are options to move people around to present a different look to different teams,” he said.

With nine defenseman on their active roster, three will sit tonight. Jamie McBain, Derek Joslin and Ryan Murphy will be healthy scratches. With a back-to-back set, we might see one of those break into the lineup tomorrow.

“There are three guys that desperately want to get into the lineup,” Maurice said. “We want to encourage that competition. We’re starting the six players that we feel are best prepared today to be good tonight through their camps and through their body of work they’ve done over the course of their NHL careers.”

With the lineup set and the players and coaching staff ready, all that is left is to play the game. If you’re coming out to the game tonight, be sure to check out the number of pre-game festivities going on in and around the RBC Center. There are some very special things planned before the face-off, which builds on the excitement already in place.

While a playoff berth isn’t directly on the line tonight, the stakes are still the same, as two points are up for grabs. Whether it’s game one or 82, those points are always valuable.

“Every game is big, but there’s something on this one,” Maurice said. “Opening Night – you want to get on that good feeling, that good roll. Playing the team that knocked you out, you have a little more bite in your step, and they’re aware of it. It’s going to be a great game tonight.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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