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Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Unconventional Road Trip Ahead for Canes

Monday, 02.06.2012 / 12:10 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Unconventional Road Trip Ahead for Canes
2,844 miles (by car, at least). Four time zones. Three games. That’s how the Carolina Hurricanes’ upcoming road trip shakes out. But, in reality, it won’t be that bad.

Michael Smith
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While the Canes take a rather unconventional route from Anaheim to Colorado and then up to Montreal, there is enough spacing in between games – three games over six days – that the trip shouldn’t be too grueling. The team has also paced their travel.

The Canes will fly out to Anaheim today to get in a full practice tomorrow afternoon in advance of Wednesday night’s game. They’ll stay the night in Colorado following Friday’s game so as not to fly across two time zones in the middle of the night.

“It’s an interesting schedule, but we’re spoiled in the East,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “You look at [the Los Angeles Kings] and their trip from St. Louis down to here, down to Florida and back out West somewhere. It’s a test for us, but there is a little bit of a break in between to give us a chance to recover.

“We’re not used to traveling. It’s what you get used to, really. We’re not used to those hours of flying like that, so it’s kind of nice we get out an extra day early.”


The Hurricanes’ road trip begins in Anaheim, a locale the team hasn’t visited since November 2009. This will be the first of two meetings between the teams this season, with the Ducks making a trip to the RBC Center on Feb. 23.

Anaheim sits in 14th in the Western Conference, plagued by early season woes. In January, the team won 9 of 12 and earned a point in a 10th game. Though they’ve gone winless in two straight to begin February, Bruce Boudreau seems to have the team pointed in the right direction.

“I haven’t seen them hardly at all this year,” Muller said. “I do know that it’s not coincidental that they’re playing really well right now. Their top guys are their best players, and they’re playing a lot. When your best players are your best players, you’re going to start winning games.”

At the ripe hockey-playing age of 41, Teemu Selanne shows no sign of wilting. He leads the team with 49 points (18g, 31a). Corey Perry, who pulled out a mini-stick in the Breakaway Challenge in the Skills Competition, leads the team in goals with 22.

The Canes defeated the Ducks in the teams’ lone meeting last year, a 4-2 win at the RBC Center. Eric Staal recorded a natural hat trick in the game, and Cam Ward made 43 saves.


On Friday, the Canes meet up with a team knocking on the door of the Western Conference playoff picture. Not helping Colorado’s cause is the fact that they’re winless in five straight games. The game against the Canes will wrap up a four-game homestand for the Avalanche.

Ryan O’Reilly is the Avs leading scorer. He has 38 points (14g, 24a). Colorado ranks 24th in the league in goals per game at 2.37.

Another rare Western Conference opponent, the Canes and Avs met once last year, a 2-1 overtime win for the Hurricanes at home. That game featured a highlight-reel goal by then-rookie Jeff Skinner, which you may recall: he kicked his own rebound to his stick and roofed a seemingly impossible backhand shot. Ward came up big again in that game, making 34 saves.


On Monday, the Canes wrap up their road trip back in the Eastern Time zone against the Montreal Canadiens. This will be the first trip back to Montreal for Muller and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.

Muller spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Canadiens after a playing career that featured him in a Habs sweater. He logged a career-high 94 points (37g, 57a) with Montreal in the 1992-93 season.

Spacek was in his third season with Montreal when he was dealt to Carolina in early December.

The Hurricanes and Canadiens have played twice this season, both in November. The first was a debilitating 4-0 loss for the Canes at the Bell Centre. Just a week later, the Canes earned a point in a 4-3 shootout loss. PK Subban has 3 points (1g, 2a) in the season series.

Montreal has been slipping fast in the standings. Winning just two of their last five games, they’ve fallen into 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The Trip

Muller said Sunday after practice that the team would be taking along an extra forward, just in case the body was needed while the team is out West. However, Riley Nash was reassigned to the Charlotte Checkers today. Now healthy, Chad LaRose should be back in the lineup on Wednesday.

The Hurricanes are still carrying an extra defenseman. Derek Joslin has sat out the last two games since Spacek’s return from his face injury.

Expect to see Ward start in goal in all three games on this road trip.

“I’d love to get [Justin Peters] in, but I think it’s going to be more depending on the schedule,” Muller said. “It’s spaced out, [Ward’s] on a roll, the team’s playing well, he had the week off so he’s well-rested. And this is where he usually excels – later on – from what I’ve learned.

“We’re going to ride him hard right now until the schedule tightens up with more games condensed.”




1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
6 DET 59 33 15 11 173 154 77
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 58 25 23 10 166 161 60
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43


J. Faulk 59 11 27 -16 38
E. Staal 54 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 58 11 15 -16 26
J. Skinner 54 15 9 -16 24
R. Nash 56 7 14 -9 21
N. Gerbe 55 6 14 -13 20
A. Sekera 57 2 17 -7 19
V. Rask 57 8 10 -18 18
J. McClement 59 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 23 4 11 -1 15
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 6 11 3 .901 2.73