Devils 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 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 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 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
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