Tracking the Storm

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.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72