Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Capitals

Maurice Expects Fast-Paced, but Physical Game

Friday, 11.4.2011 / 12:26 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Capitals

In recent history, the Washington Capitals have been the measuring stick for the Southeast Division, at least in the regular season. In their only match-up with the Caps this season, the Canes measured up nicely.

Michael Smith
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In that game on October 8, Jussi Jokinen scored in the final 90 seconds to tie the game at three and force overtime. Mike Green – who the Capitals might be without tonight – scored the eventual game-winner on a power play in overtime, but the Canes left with a well-deserved point.

Tonight, they’ll get another crack at a Washington team that won its first seven games. After losing two straight, the Capitals topped the Ducks in overtime.

“They’re just a [darn] good team. They’re deep,” head coach Paul Maurice said of tonight’s opponent. “They changed their look a little bit, but they have good goaltending and some good young defenseman. Understandably, their high-end talent gets most of the coverage and rightfully so.

“It makes it harder to run your match-up against them. You go in with your game plan and then you’ve got to try to find who’s hot on their team and who’s going on your team and try to get that match-up in-game.”

Maurice previewed tonight’s tilt, saying that it would be a fast-paced and physical game.

“The team that wins the special teams war usually does well,” he said.

That much was true on October 8. The Canes scored two power play goals, but they also surrendered two, including Green’s 4-on-3 overtime goal.

Since then, the Canes have, overall, made a habit of staying out of the penalty box. When they do get into penalty trouble, they’ve been strong on the kill as of late, killing 29 of their opponents’ last 33 power plays (87.9 percent).

While Eric Staal hasn’t been lighting up the scoresheet lately, he did against the Capitals earlier this season. In that game, Staal had three points (2g, 1a). He is also a point-per-game career player against Washington, recording 50 points (22g, 28a) in as many games.

“I felt good that night,” he said about his game earlier this season. “You always have to bring your best against Washington.

“I don’t like losing to them. I don’t like losing to anybody. They’re a team that I’ve played a lot over my career.”

Call-ups Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman will surround center Tim Brent on the fourth line tonight. But that doesn’t mean Maurice anticipates the line to have minimal impact.

“We expect a game out of them,” he said. “I know we have a couple of young guys on the wings, but we don’t feel the need to hide those guys over the course of the game.”

At home, the Caps are 6-0 on the young season, but on the road they’ve posted a record of just 2-2. Since losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning on opening night, the Canes are 3-0-1 at home in their last four games. If the Canes can come out with the effort they had against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, we should be in for another good game tonight.

”It takes a lot of fight to be able to be ready to compete against them but it’s a lot of fun,” Staal said. “It’s a good challenge. For me, I look forward to it.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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