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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Bruins

As a Cup-Winner, Staal Familiar in Approach to Boston

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 12:32 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Bruins

As if the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t need another hurdle to jump over in order to get their first win of the season, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins will be opposite them on the ice tonight.

Michael Smith
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Even still, the team believes tonight is as good a chance as any to grab two points.

“Confidence is always the critical issue when you’re not winning hockey games, but it has to be based on how you feel you’re playing and the good things you’re doing,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “There’s enough in our game right now that we should be able to keep our confidence.

“Every team will go through this exact challenge – how do you keep feeling good about yourself when the wins say you shouldn’t? So we reinforce the good things that we’re doing.”

The Bruins might be facing similar challenges, as they find themselves at just 1-2 three games into the season. Three games into the 2006-07 season, the then-defending-champion Hurricanes were 0-2-1.

Only three players from the Canes’ Cup-winning roster remain in the locker room today – Eric Staal, Cam Ward and Chad LaRose. As someone who has been there in experiencing the pressure to shake the “Stanley Cup hangover,” Staal knows how to approach the Bruins tonight.

 “For us, we want to make it difficult on them,” he said. “We want to make sure they don’t get a good feeling, especially early. You want to be aggressive, you want to be on them. When you’re aggressive, their passing and their ability to make plays is limited and frustration starts to build – for any team, but especially for a team that won it all last year.

“They know what it is that makes them feel good, and if you can get aggressive, get on them and be in their face, it will only help you to get in a position to win the game.”

Defenseman Jamie McBain will replace Justin Faulk in the lineup tonight. McBain was paired with Joni Pitkanen during the morning skate, a duo that will see time tonight.

“[McBain’s] got some good chemistry with Joni,” Maurice said. “He played well with him last year. We’re expecting a pretty inspired game from him.”

Maurice said McBain would also skate on a power play unit tonight, a position that is not unfamiliar to him.

“He has some offensive gifts. We know he can shoot the puck, make plays and join the rush,” Maurice said. “We’re hoping to get some more action off our second unit.”

Maurice also hinted at juggling the lines before or during the game tonight but said he was close to feeling a comfort level with some of the combinations he has put together.

“We’re getting closer to the structure that we’ve liked in the past – some offensive lines and some good defensive structured lines as well,” he said.

Defending Stanley Cup Champions or otherwise, the bottom line is that the Canes need a win, especially considering the forthcoming four-game road trip that includes dates with Buffalo, Boston, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

“We want to have that edge to our game. We need to. We need a win. We need to get the job done,” Staal said. “We’re playing a very good team, but we’re in our building.

“I think the guys are excited. We had a good skate this morning – upbeat, snapping the pucks around – so we have to bring that energy and that enthusiasm and just get a win.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45