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Tracking the Storm

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.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
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 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

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