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Gameday: Canes Responding at Home

Thursday, 03.7.2013 / 12:50 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Responding at Home
After dropping a 5-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 23, head coach Kirk Muller discussed how it was unacceptable that the team got outworked and out-competed in its own rink.

Michael Smith
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The message to the team?

Be a stronger group to play against at home.

The Hurricanes have responded by rattling off three consecutive victories, outscoring opponents 14-6 in those games. In the latter two, the Hurricanes have scored first and led after the first period, not once surrendering the lead.

“You need a good home record to do well at the end of the year. We had a lot of away games early on, and we had good success on the road. But we were at that .500 success here, so we talked about it,” Muller said. “We said we’ve got to come out harder in the first, create the momentum and keep the momentum. And I thought the guys have done a great job.”

The Canes will need to rinse and repeat that effort again tonight, as they look to extend their season-long home winning streaks to four games at home and five games overall. Coming to town is the Eastern Conference’s top team, the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Hurricanes 3-0 on Feb. 18.

“That’s the big challenge tonight. You always want to be the better team,” said forward Jiri Tlusty, who has four goals and two assists in his last four games. “We are in our own rink now, and we own this one.”

In that Feb. 18 game in Montreal, the Canes and Habs were scoreless heading into the third period. The Canadiens put three goals on the board in a span of 10 minutes in the final frame.

“It was only a matter of time before someone scored the first goal,” Tlusty said. “Unfortunately it was them, and they look over the game,” Tlusty said.

Recently, the Canes have been a fast-starting team, outscoring their opponents 7-2 in the first period. With Carey Price getting the start in net for Montreal, having a fruitful first 20 minutes could be a key to victory; Price has surrendered 12 goals on his last 59 shots, dropping two straight games.

The challenge then is to sustain that energy for 60 minutes. After skating circles around the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday for two periods, the Canes sat back a bit in the third period, allowing the Sabres to claw their way back into the game.

“If you want to be a hard team to play against, we have to play hard for 60 minutes. Even if we are sitting on the lead, we have to keep going,” Tlusty said. “We want to start hard and make the statement out there.”

On the heels of a 37-save performance in his season debut, Justin Peters will man the crease again for the Hurricanes.

“He had good energy the other night and a good strong game, so we just felt we’d keep it rolling with him,” Muller said.

“It was exciting to get an opportunity to get back in the net in the NHL and continue to try and prove myself,” Peters said Wednesday. “Cam is the backbone of this hockey team, and it’s going to take more than one guy to replace him.”

Dan Ellis, battling flu-like symptoms, said he was feeling better today, having eaten his first meal last night. The virus appears to be spreading around, as Riley Nash was sent home this morning as a precaution.

“He’ll come back tonight, and we’ll see if he’s got the energy to jump in the lineup,” Muller said.

In case he cannot play, the team recalled Jeremy Welsh from Charlotte. Welsh has skated in four games with the Canes this season.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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