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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Fair Out, Canes In

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 1:33 PM / 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

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61