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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, 02.02.2012 / 10:56 AM / 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
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 43 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 48 10 19 -13 29
E. Lindholm 48 9 11 -12 20
R. Nash 48 7 13 -4 20
J. Tlusty 41 12 7 -12 19
J. Skinner 43 10 9 -8 19
N. Gerbe 44 5 13 -4 18
V. Rask 48 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 46 1 14 -6 15
J. McClement 48 1 9 -2 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 11 17 4 .914 2.37
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .914 2.41