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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Rangers

Stewart Gets Opportunity on Power Play

Thursday, 12.1.2011 / 12:57 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Rangers
Like many forwards on the team, Anthony Stewart has seen his role fluctuate this season.

Michael Smith
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He’s played as many as 13 minutes and as few as four. He’s played in the top six and in the bottom six, and he’s been a healthy scratch.

Tonight, when the Carolina Hurricanes take on the New York Rangers, Stewart will be inserted on the first power play unit with forwards Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner. So far this season, Stewart has seen limited use on the power play.

“It’s good to get the opportunity to show what I can do, and I’m going to do my best to make the best of it,” he said. “I’m not going to do anything too extraordinary – just be a big body out there, try to clean up some loose pucks.

“It’s not reinventing the wheel – it’s just being there and trying to knock in whatever pokes out.”

Head coach Kirk Muller sees Stewart on the power play as a new look for the struggling man-advantage, which has converted just 4-of-33 in its last seven games.

“We need some more traffic there. We need some big bodies,” Muller said. “I thought he played well the other night. I’m going to dangle the carrot with him a little bit. Everyone’s got to get a role; everyone’s got to feel a part of it.”

Stewart played 6:21 against Florida on Tuesday, down about 30 seconds from where he was in Ottawa on Sunday. Seeing time on the power play should enhance his fourth line minutes, a welcome opportunity for the 26-year-old.

“Coach is trying to get everybody in there and show what they can do, so here’s my opportunity,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for it for a bit here, so I’ve got to make the most of it. I’m excited to be out there and play in any situation I can.”

Muller’s decision to give Stewart time on the power play also stems from last season, when Stewart scored five of his 14 total goals on the power play with Atlanta. Muller noted Stewart’s size and numbers and thinks he can bring a necessary component to the man-advantage.

“I told the guys if you work hard, you’ll play, and you’ll get extra time in different situations. I think he needs a challenge,” Muller said. “If he can get going and get involved, we’ve added a player to this team.”

At even strength, Stewart will remain on the fourth line, centered by Tim Brent and opposed by newcomer Andreas Nodl. Though they only had a few minutes together on the ice against Florida, Stewart said adjusting to a new winger wasn’t too hard, especially with a speed and skill guy in Nodl.

“Being on the fourth line, we’re not trying to do anything too fancy,” he said. “Any offense we get is going to come from loose pucks we create on the forecheck. We’re not trying to dangle through the neutral zone or anything.”

ROSTER NOTES

Brian Boucher put in some extra work after the morning skate with Tom Barrasso. Expect Cam Ward to get the start in net again tonight.

Jamie McBain was also a straggler this morning, as he had a discussion with Dave Lewis and Rod Brind’Amour before putting in a personal on-ice session with them. As reported by our own John Forslund, the same six defensemen will dress tonight – this means McBain and Jay Harrison are the scratches. Harrison participated in practice yesterday and the morning skate this morning. He’s missed three games with an upper-body injury.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 54 14 19 2 33
J. Staal 56 12 21 8 33
J. Skinner 56 19 13 -1 32
K. Versteeg 55 11 21 1 32
E. Staal 56 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 56 8 17 -9 25
A. Nestrasil 49 9 12 1 21
J. Nordstrom 45 5 11 2 16
R. Hainsey 56 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 11 7 .909 2.35
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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