Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Faulk, Semin Could Return Against Pens

Tuesday, 04.9.2013 / 12:30 PM ET / 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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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