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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Faulk, Semin Could Return Against Pens

Tuesday, 04.09.2013 / 12:30 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Faulk, Semin Could Return Against Pens
The Carolina Hurricanes could gain back their team-leader in ice time and their second leading scorer tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Michael Smith
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Justin Faulk, who has missed the team's last nine games with a sprained MCL, was activated from injured reserve today. Faulk has tallied three goals and seven assists in 28 games this season. He leads the team in average ice time per game with 23:23.

Forward Alexander Semin, who has tallied 36 points, including a team-leading 26 assists, has missed the team’s last two games with an upper-body injury. Head coach Kirk Muller said Semin could get back in the lineup tonight.

“My belief is that he is in [the lineup],” Muller said of Semin’s status, noting there were a few health-related question marks with a few unnamed players.

Semin’s return would come a fortuitous time, as the Hurricanes have scored just three goals on their last 136 shots.

In the team’s decisive 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 28, the first line of Semin, Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty combined for eight points (3g, 5a); Semin had two assists.

“Up until this stretch, we pretty much competed with everybody in the East,” Muller said.

Dan Ellis, who relieved Justin Peters at the 7:58 mark of the first period in Boston last night, will get the start in net, Muller said. In four career games against Pittsburgh, Ellis is 2-0 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

Tonight is the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Hurricanes will close out their regular season in Pittsburgh on April 27, which will mark Jordan Staal’s return to the Steel City.

The Hurricanes will attempt to avoid the wrong side of history, as the team is on the verge of setting a franchise record home losing streak. Saturday’s loss tied the team record of seven games, set from Dec. 27, 2002 through Jan. 20, 2003 (0-6-0-1). The current stretch of seven straight home losses in regulation is a franchise record. The team is also still searching for it's first win in the month of April, which has dealt five straight losses.

But even in such a wretched slide, the team’s morale is not shattered.

“The guys have not thrown in the towel. They’re battling,” Muller said. “All in all, I don’t think anyone can watch our team play right now and say the guys aren’t giving it all they’ve got.”

Though each loss seems to be an exact blueprint of the one before it – a game in which the Canes control play early on, out-shoot and out-chance their opponents, yet fall behind into a hole they cannot work out of – the message to the players has remained consistent.

The shots, the chances and the effort are there. The results, unfortunately, aren’t.

“The message is … we’ve got to stay the course, stay at it, stay consistent and find ways to get different results,” Muller said. “It’s definitely a test on the will power. Who is fighting through it? Who can battle through all of this?”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 60 11 28 -14 39
E. Staal 55 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 59 11 16 -15 27
J. Skinner 55 16 9 -15 25
R. Nash 57 7 15 -8 22
N. Gerbe 56 7 14 -11 21
V. Rask 58 8 11 -16 19
J. McClement 60 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 24 4 11 -1 15
A. Semin 36 2 12 -8 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60