Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Canes Still Searching for First Win

Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:30 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
X
Share with your Friends


Gameday: Canes Still Searching for First Win
It’s only been two games, a fraction of the 48-game season.

Michael Smith
Follow on Twitter

But, right now, two points would sure do a lot for the Carolina Hurricanes’ confidence. They face an undefeated Buffalo squad tonight and Friday in the team’s first of two back-to-back, home-and-home sets.

“Getting two points is like putting your cards in the game,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “Guys deep down are anxious to get it.”

This is the first time the 2009-10 season that the team has gone without a point in its first two games. That year, the Hurricanes dropped a 2-0 decision to Florida and got trampled 7-2 by Philadelphia out of the gate. A 2-1 win against Tampa Bay and 7-2 lashing of their own over Florida followed.

The last time the Hurricanes were void of points in their first three games was the 1997-98 season, the final year the team played in the Northeast Division.

During the last shortened season in 1994-95, the eventual Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils started 0-3-1, the lone tie coming against the Hartford Whalers.

Perspective.

“I don’t think anyone is gripping their stick too tight right now,” Justin Faulk said. “It’s two games in.”

Two games that featured a number of new faces in the lineup, especially among the forward lines. Chemistry is hard to spark without exhibition games.

“I’ll take the full responsibility of the first two games of exploring different options with personnel,” Muller said. “[Eric Staal] hasn’t had that set winger. We explored the first two games for different reasons, but now we have to get some consistency in the lineup.”

To find that consistency, Muller and his coaching staff slotted Jiri Tlusty, who played with Staal at length last season, on his left wing. Zac Dalpe, now healthy, returns to play with Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner. The third line features Drayson Bowman and Chad LaRose with Jussi Jokinen in the middle The fourth line, which Muller said could be fluid up until puck drop, had Tim Brent with Kevin Westgarth and Patrick Dwyer on either side.

On defense, Jamie McBain will make his 2012-13 season debut tonight, as Joe Corvo will be a healthy scratch. McBain will be paired with Joni Pitkanen, a familiar duo from last season. Bobby Sanguinetti will skate with Jay Harrison.

Cam Ward will get the start in net, his 18th career game opposite the Sabres. A decision on Friday night’s starting goaltender will be made following tonight’s game, Muller said. Through two games, Ward has a 6.00 goals-against average and a .789 save percentage.

Abnormal as those statistics may be, they aren’t quite as eye-popping when considering goaltending around the league. Jonathan Quick, who won the Conn Smythe in Los Angeles’ Stanley Cup championship last season, is 0-2 with a 4.10 goals-against average and .849 save percentage. Henrik Lundqvist, last season’s Vezina Trophy winner, is 1-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .877 save percentage.

“There’s a lot of goals being scored, let’s be honest, that aren’t typically going in,” Muller said.

With that said, Muller said Ward knows he has to be better.

“We challenged our guys yesterday to play harder and raise their game, and he’s part of that group,” Muller said. “I don’t think you can challenge a group without giving a guy an opportunity to come back and prove it. He’s a competitor.”

A key to tonight’s game? A better first period. The Hurricanes have been outscored 6-0 in the opening frame through two games. The team has yet to play with a lead.

“When you’re trailing in six periods, it’s a different game,” Muller said. “We need better first periods. That’s been the one thing in the first two. We’ve come out tentative for some reason. We’ve got to come out hard here tonight and just play. Play hard, play simple.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61