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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Canes Responding at Home

Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 12:50 PM / 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.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45