Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Bruins

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

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 12:32 PM ET / 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.

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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

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