Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Jets

Hurricanes are 7-2-1 in last 10 games at home

Monday, 01.23.2012 / 12:18 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Hurricanes vs. Jets
The Carolina Hurricanes are beginning to get rewarded for their consistent efforts, and that has been most evident within the friendly confines of the RBC Center.

Michael Smith
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In its last 10 home games, the team is 7-2-1. The Canes bring a two-game home winning streak into tonight’s match-up with the Winnipeg Jets after wins over playoff teams in Boston and Washington.

“We always show up at home,” forward Jiri Tlusty said. “The key has been that we’ve done the small details well at home, and we work really hard.”

Head coach Kirk Muller also spoke to the team’s attention to detail, something he believes the Canes have done well at home.

“Our focus has been great. Our consistency has been really good,” he said. “I think we’ve played a good, high-tempo game that’s got our fans into it. We’ve just been playing hard.”

Muller also noted the statistic of goals against, which has been slashed drastically over the last seven games. Dating back to Jan. 10, the Canes have allowed just 11 goals in seven games (extra shootout goal awarded against Pittsburgh withheld), an average of 1.57 per game. That’s nearly half of what their season average is at 3.08.

It’s no coincidence that Cam Ward has been at his best in this stretch, too. In his last eight starts, Ward has surrendered two goals or less, and his save percentage is .952. He has stopped 256 of his last 269 shots faced.

“Our respect and pride in goals against is getting good,” Muller said. “We’ve really cut it down. But we’re doing it in a way that we’re not a complete defensive-type team. We want to be an aggressive team. We want to skate and have our forwards working and forechecking. I think we’re playing that high-tempo game right now that allows us to play well at both ends.”

The Hurricanes have struggled to find success against tonight’s opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, even though that success came in spades last season.

In 2010-11, the Canes won five of six against Atlanta – three in overtime and one in the shootout – and collected a point in the sixth. So far this season, Winnipeg has taken all three meetings, winning 5-3 and 4-2 at home and 3-1 in Raleigh.

“We’ve played twice in their arena, and it’s hard to win in there,” Tlusty said. “We have to find a way to win against Winnipeg because we have to catch them.”

Jussi Jokinen talked after Friday’s game about how the Hurricanes believe their best chance of making the postseason, slim as it may be, is to win the division. Divisional games like tonight, then, take on heightened importance.

“We cannot look at the board right now and say, ‘Well, what’s the chance?’” Tlusty said. “We just have to keep playing and worry about ourselves. If we keep winning, then we have the chance to still make it.”

Muller said the key to finally earning points against the Jets tonight will be more of what the team has done recently to be successful – keep the game low-scoring, but stay strong with the game-plan which calls for a high tempo.

“We can’t get in the fire-wagon kind of game with these guys. Our success lately has been tightening things up, keeping it low-scoring,” he said. “We know this team is going to come hard and come after us, and we have to be ready for a high-tempo type game, which is good for us. We have to be prepared because this is our last game before break. We have to come with that focus tonight.”

The Hurricanes, minus Justin Faulk, will have an extended break following tonight’s game as attention turns to All-Star Weekend in Ottawa. The Canes next game isn’t until eight days from now, which will provide for many a welcome interlude in what has been a rollercoaster of a season.

“Everybody wants to get a little rest. It will be nice to get some days off for us all to recharge,” Tlusty said. “It’s a long break, but it gives you energy. When we come back, everyone will be looking forward to our last push to the end of the season.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72