Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Fair Out, Canes In

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 1:33 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Fair Out, Canes In

The Carolina Hurricanes have returned from their annual, State Fair-induced October road trip. And though practice this morning was upbeat and vocal, the team is clearly not pleased with how the road swing ended.

Michael Smith
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Facing a then 2-4 St. Louis Blues team and a then 1-4-1 Winnipeg team, the Canes had to be considered favorites, especially after stringing three wins together against Boston twice and Buffalo.

Against both the Blues and Jets, the Canes jumped out to early 2-0 leads. Their lead in St. Louis faded in the second period when the Blues came on strong and outshot the Canes 20-12 over that 20-minute span. Winnipeg evened the score when the Canes got into penalty trouble in the first period.

“As a whole, if you look at the four-game block, you go 2-1-1, and it’s a decent trip. But the way it ended up was tough,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “It was a very physical, hard-fought game in St. Louis. And I thought we came out of the gate against Winnipeg the way we wanted.”

“We had a pretty good road trip, but we wanted more points, definitely,” forward Jiri Tlusty said. “We didn’t bring them home. But now we just have to focus. If the team sticks together and does all the things we plan to do, we’re going to be a strong team to play against tomorrow night.”

Though it is the shutdown line, the third combination of Tlusty, Brandon Sutter and Patrick Dwyer provided an offensive spark on the road trip. Over those four games, that line combined for 7 out of their season-total 9 points. They also were a combined plus-7 on the trip; on the season, the line is plus-8.

“It’s the structure of our team that’s very important in that we have a line like Brandon’s that’s playing against the other’s team’s best,” Maurice said. “And they’re a plus line.”

“Usually the top lines don’t want to play in their zones, so if you keep it simple in the neutral zone, you get it in their zone, and they usually don’t want to stay there. That’s our advantage,” Tlusty said. “We’re three fast guys so if we just keep it simple in their zone, it works for us, and we can create some chances.”

As that line stays consistent, the top two scoring lines have shifted around, especially on the wings as Maurice tries to find a combination that will produce more at even strength.

“It’s a group thing,” he said. “We’ve got some guys up front who we need to get going 5-on-5. We’ve got some groups that we like and some guys that we can improve a little.”

Faulk Back in Raleigh

Justin Faulk was back on the RBC Center ice today, recalled from Charlotte of the AHL. The rookie defenseman spent three games with the Checkers this weekend, notching a goal and an assist.

“He was just going down to play games for the weekend,” Maurice said. “That was decided last week. It won’t change the lineup for tomorrow.”

As of right now, this leaves the Canes with eight defensemen again, with Faulk and Joslin the odd-men out for tomorrow night’s tilt against Ottawa. But Charlotte doesn’t play again until Friday when they have another trio of weekend games. The Canes could keep Faulk here throughout the week for the NHL practices and send him down again on the weekend to see playing time.

Faulk skated in three games for the Canes before being sent down to Charlotte. He logged close to or over 18 minutes in each game, but did not record a point and was a -6.

ROSTER NOTES: Anthony Stewart was not at practice today ... Maurice said that Stewart was nursing a lower-body injury and would be evaluated again tomorrow

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 71 22 28 -12 50
J. Faulk 76 15 32 -19 47
E. Lindholm 75 16 21 -20 37
J. Skinner 71 18 13 -22 31
V. Rask 74 11 20 -13 31
N. Gerbe 72 9 17 -13 26
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. McClement 76 7 13 -5 20
J. Staal 40 4 16 -6 20
J. Liles 51 2 17 -8 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 22 5 .909 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60