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Gameday: Canes Will Attempt History

Hurricanes have chance to sweep Boston for first time in franchise history

Thursday, 02.2.2012 / 10:56 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Will Attempt History
The Carolina Hurricanes will attempt history tonight when they go for a clean sweep of the Boston Bruins in the season series.

Michael Smith
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The Canes have bested one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams three times this season, outscoring the Bruins 11-5. The Hurricanes caught the Bruins at an opportune time early in the season. In a span of less than a week in October, Carolina topped Boston twice as the Bruins stumbled through the haze of a Stanley Cup hangover.

That said, don’t take anything away from the Hurricanes’ performance in those two games. They were the better and more disciplined team by far in each and were playing their best brand of hockey under the previous coaching regime.

In the two teams’ most recent meeting, the Canes outskated a much more competitive Bruins team to earn the win. Falling down 2-1 early in the final 20 minutes, the Hurricanes scored three unanswered goals in the latter half of the period to win 4-2.

Head coach Kirk Muller wants to see that kind of effort replicated tonight, but he knows it won’t be easy.

“We’ve got to play our game,” Muller said after practice on Wednesday. “Boston is a team that can play physical. They play hard in their barn. We can’t get caught up in that kind of stuff. We’ve got to play strong, play hard and play physical, but play clean.”

In their last nine home games, the Bruins are 7-1-1. They’ve outscored their opponents 39-16 in that stretch. In their last 19 home games, they are 15-2-2. Carolina, on the other hand, has won just two road games since Muller took over.

That said, Boston has struggled this season against the Southeast Division, posting their only losing record against a certain division at 5-7. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have a winning record against Boston’s Northeast Division at 8-3-3.

“You get out what you put in, and we didn’t put enough in [on Tuesday],” Muller said. “The good thing is, they did respond and they did come back. But we need that a little bit earlier. Going into Boston, we can’t have a slow start.”

Carolina will be without the services of Chad LaRose, who is day-to-day with an illness. Drayson Bowman was recalled Wednesday afternoon from Charlotte joining fellow Checker Riley Nash on the Canes’ active roster. Hurricanes President and General Manager said over the weekend in Charlotte that Bowman and Nash were atop his list of NHL-ready prospects; by no coincidence, they’ve been the first two players recalled since the All-Star Break.

Jaroslav Spacek could re-enter the lineup tonight. He’s missed the team’s last seven games after taking a puck to the face. Should Spacek play tonight, look for Derek Joslin to be the healthy extra on defense. Spacek was paired with Jamie McBain in Wednesday’s practice.

Cam Ward will get the start in net. In three games against Boston this season, Ward has stopped 92 of 97 shots faced, a .968 save percentage. He’s coming off a stellar January, in which he recorded a .944 save percentage and averaged less than two goals against per game.

Jeff Skinner brings a three-game point streak (2g, 1a) to Boston. Tim Brent has also put together a two-game goal streak. The Hurricanes will need contribution from all four lines tonight for 60 minutes should they look to sweep the Bruins for the first time in franchise history.

And do the Bruins know they’ll be trying to prevent history?

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Muller said, laughing. “Teams generally pick up on that stuff.”

But the Canes won’t simply roll over, especially in what has become such a heated season series.

“Every team is fighting for something right now,” Muller said.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 52 14 19 -15 33
K. Versteeg 51 10 21 2 31
V. Rask 50 12 18 0 30
E. Staal 52 9 21 1 30
J. Skinner 52 18 11 -4 29
J. Staal 52 11 16 4 27
E. Lindholm 52 8 16 -7 24
A. Nestrasil 45 5 12 -4 17
R. Hainsey 52 3 11 -14 14
J. Liles 52 5 7 -4 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 14 11 5 .905 2.41
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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