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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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81