Flyers vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs

Muller to Get Better Assessment of Dalpe Tonight

Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 12:16 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs
The Carolina Hurricanes will play their third game in four days tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that handed the Canes a 2-1 overtime loss north of the border just over two weeks ago.

Michael Smith
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In that game, James Reimer only had to face 19 shots, a then-season low for the Hurricanes before they registered just 18 on Marc-Andre Fleury on Tuesday night. On the same night in Florida, Reimer was pulled after surrendering three goals on eight shots. According to reports yesterday, he will start in net for the Leafs tonight.

The Hurricanes have already defeated the Leafs once at home, a 3-2 win on Nov. 20 in which Jeff Skinner scored the game-winning goal. Jussi Jokinen also scored in that game, and he has gone without a goal since.

Forward Zac Dalpe will play in his second game back with the big club after being recalled on an emergency basis for Patrick Dwyer, who suffered an upper-body injury late in the game Friday against Ottawa.

Tuesday night in Pittsburgh was his first game under head coach Kirk Muller and also his first game-action since Dec. 20 when the Charlotte Checkers last played. An extended break for the holidays kept Dalpe off the ice for most of the week.

“I had one practice in Charlotte before I got the call, so it wasn’t like I was Bambi on ice for the first time in a week,” he said. “The first couple of shifts I was a little fatigued, but once you get in the groove of the game, you kind of forget all of that.”

Against the Penguins, Dalpe skated on a line with Eric Staal and Drayson Bowman. He logged 12:43 of ice time – playing even-strength and on the power play – and was a minus-2.

“[Bowman and I] have played in the past in the minors, but when you put all three together, it’s different no matter what kind of chemistry you have,” Dalpe said. “I thought we had some good shifts together. A couple minuses doesn’t look good on the score sheet, but there are definitely some positives we can draw from it.”

Yesterday in practice, Dalpe remained on Staal’s wing and was opposed by Jiri Tlusty; Bowman slid down to flank Brandon Sutter on the left wing. Muller didn’t want to break up Jokinen’s line, which has arguably the team’s best group over the past week.

“I think it’s a tough game to judge on him,” Muller said of Dalpe against Pittsburgh. “I talked to him. He’s had a long, long Christmas break. The he comes back and jumps into a game against Pittsburgh in Pitt. They’re fresh, they’re ready to go, we played the night before. I said to him, ‘You got your feet wet in that game. Just be prepared to go against Toronto.’”

And so Dalpe is ready. He and most of the team didn’t skate this morning, but the 22-year-old Paris, Ontario native is looking forward to being back on the RBC Center ice.

“I feel good, ready to go and excited for tonight,” he said. “Playing with Eric Staal, you don’t have a choice but to be excited.”

It’s easy to assume that Dalpe would be nervous or looking to feed the struggling Staal, who, after putting together a four-game point streak (2g, 4a), hasn’t had a point in his last six. But that would go against what the coaching staff has told him. Muller’s advice to Dalpe has been the same as what he’s told the other young players: seize the opportunity and play your game, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

“That kind of echoes what the old coach Paul Maurice said, too, when I was put with Staal in the exhibition games,” Dalpe said. “[The coaches said], ‘Don’t feel like you have to alter your game to play with him. Obviously, he’s a good player, and he’s going to get you the puck. Don’t feel like you need to change your game to be on his line because, at the end of the day, you’re on his line for your game.’”

ROSTER NOTES

Justin Peters put in a good session with assistant coach Tom Barrasso this morning, so expect Cam Ward to be in net for the Hurricanes.

Jaroslav Spacek was one of three other Canes on the ice this morning. He didn’t practice yesterday in what was a maintenance day for the defenseman after he blocked a shot in the third period on Tuesday. Spacek will be in the lineup tonight.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 70 21 28 -12 49
J. Faulk 75 15 32 -17 47
E. Lindholm 74 16 21 -19 37
J. Skinner 70 18 13 -21 31
V. Rask 73 11 20 -12 31
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 71 8 17 -13 25
J. McClement 75 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 47 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 39 4 16 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 21 5 .911 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60