Tracking the Storm

More Fight and Emotion Needed vs. Dallas

Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 2:16 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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More Fight and Emotion Needed vs. Dallas

The morning after being drummed 5-1 by the Washington Capitals, the Carolina Hurricanes were still soured by their effort.

Michael Smith
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Less than 24 hours from now, however, they’ll get a chance to right the mishaps of last night when they face the Dallas Stars in a Sunday matinee.

The message following last night’s game was clear: the Hurricanes lacked the jump and energy they needed for 60 minutes in order to win. This is something that has plagued the team throughout the season and is especially costly against teams like Washington who can (and did) easily take advantage of that.

“It’s not like we were unemotional or not passionate in the game,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “It just wasn’t at a level we need to get to in order to beat those teams.

“We’re not in a position to play a team like Washington even on emotion. We have to play at a higher emotional level than they do to win that game, and we didn’t. It was even, and that doesn’t do us any good.”

The Canes seemed to have the jump out of the gate, something they have been pretty consistent with all season. Just over three minutes into the game, Anthony Stewart tipped in a Jay Harrison point shot. The Canes closed out the period with a solid penalty kill effort which brought the RBC Center crowd to its feet. After that, though, there really wasn’t much good to note.

“I think we just took our foot off the gas,” Stewart said. “We scored that early goal. I think we sat back a bit and gave them too much space for their big guns. We were in a bit of a lull and they capitalized.”

“I thought we started pretty well,” forward Tuomo Ruutu said. “But then, after that we were kind of flat. We didn’t do anything great, and we didn’t do anything really bad. We just didn’t have that fight.”

Fight and energy is what the team will strive for tomorrow against a 9-3 Dallas team. Last night, the Stars topped the Avalanche 7-6 in overtime. But Maurice expects a gritty game tomorrow.

“They’re going to play a hard, grinding game,” he said. “It’s a meat-and-potatoes game, and they play it on a high level. It’s going to be a filthy grind. Not going to be pretty.”

While that certainly differs from the up-tempo style Washington put on display last night, the Canes’ approach won’t change. They just want the outcome to be different.

“It’s a team we don’t see much, but it’s still a crucial two points,” Stewart said. “Our game plan is going to stay the same.”

“Our game shouldn’t change much depending on the opponent,” Ruutu said. “I just think we should have more fight. We have to play the way we’re capable of playing.”

ROSTER NOTES

Jussi Jokinen skated on his own this morning at Raleigh Center Ice for about 20 minutes. He did not practice with the team, and he had a chat with Maurice before he left the ice. Maurice said he’s still day-to-day and “not ready for full practice yet” but that he feels fine. Considering that his injury looked to be serious, this is good news.

Eric Staal and Chad LaRose did not practice today, as they were kept off the ice for physical matienance. Maurice said that after the minutes (20:49) Staal played last night, “he didn’t need to do that this morning."

There might be some changes made on defense for tomorrow’s game, but we won’t know until then. After the third period in Philadelphia, Maurice said the defense was "on notice." Comments after last night's game certainly hinted towards that again. Maurice said of the defense, “We’ll make those decisions tomorrow. We have to talk to the players.”

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