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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.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81