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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Sabres

Muller Wants Canes to be Hungry, Feisty

Friday, 01.06.2012 / 12:33 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Sabres
After Tuesday night’s loss to the New York Islanders that saw the Carolina Hurricanes surrender the lead late in the third period and lose in a shootout, head coach Kirk Muller knows there is still work to be done.

Michael Smith
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A couple of days of hard-working practices later and an overall loose morning skate today, the Canes will look to correct the errors in their game in search of their 14th win this season.

Muller knows he won’t see a complete turnaround over night. It’s a work-in-progress but one he is happy to accept.

“It all starts in practice. It’s habits of wanting to come every day, putting the work in and committing to the system. With that part, we’ve been happy,” he said. “The results aren’t there yet. On the positive side, I see areas where we’re going in the right direction. I believe in that. We’ve got a great staff, and we’ve got to keep pushing them everyday.”

Tonight, the Canes will see a push-back from a struggling Buffalo Sabres team that has lost five straight games on the road. Their win at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday was just their second win in eight games.

But, as the Canes learned the hard way on Tuesday, that’s not to say the Sabres will be an easy opponent. Assuming their top line stays together, Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville will be a formidable task for Brandon Sutter’s line. That threesome has combined for 103 points; Pominville is the team’s leading scorer with 40 points (13g, 37a). He also scored Buffalo’s lone goal in their 1-0 win over the Hurricanes on Nov. 18.

Jhonas Enroth has given the Hurricanes fits. In two career games (both wins), he’s stopped 69 of 70 shots, good for a 0.49 goals against average and a .986 save percentage. Head coach Lindy Ruff has said he is going to ride goaltender Ryan Miller as the team tries to climb back into the playoff picture, so the Canes will likely avoid Enroth tonight. Miller is just four wins shy of breaking Dominik Hasek’s club win record of 234.

The Canes, however, have had success against Buffalo this season. On Oct. 14 at the First Niagra Center, Carolina earned a 4-3 win, scoring three of their four goals on special teams. The first goal, eventually given to Alexei Ponikarovsky, was scored just as a Hurricanes’ power play concluded. Over its last three games, the Canes are 3-for-8 on the power play, including a strong 2-for-4 showing in Tampa Bay on Dec. 31.

As expected, the Hurricanes lines remained the same in the skate this morning. (For a full list of the lines, click here.) Recalled yesterday, Brett Sutter centered Anthony Stewart and Andreas Nodl on the fourth line. The defensive pairings remained the same, as well, and Cam Ward is expected to start in net.

Patrick Dwyer skated today and has been cleared for contact. Muller said Dwyer could be back in the lineup as early as tomorrow night in Nashville. Jeff Skinner also skated, but he is still wearing the non-contact jersey.

The challenge for the Hurricanes tonight will be to maintain the compete level that Muller wants to see. They’ve been able to do this with some success at home recently, and now they will want to see the results come more consistently.

 “You’ve got to implement the mental fact that losing is not acceptable,” Muller said. “We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve fallen by one. We’ve had the lead and we’ve given it up. The mentality that it’s all about winning – we’ve got to get hungrier, we’ve got to get feistier, we’ve got to be harder to play against.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 61 12 28 -16 40
E. Staal 56 18 19 -10 37
E. Lindholm 60 11 16 -16 27
J. Skinner 56 16 10 -16 26
R. Nash 58 7 15 -9 22
N. Gerbe 57 7 15 -11 22
V. Rask 59 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 61 6 12 3 18
J. Staal 25 4 12 -2 16
A. Nestrasil 33 4 10 4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 19 4 .913 2.37
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60