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Gameday: Canes Looking to Break Loose

Saturday, 04.13.2013 / 12:05 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Looking to Break Loose


If you walked into the Carolina Hurricanes dressing room a month ago, the atmosphere was lively, energetic and positive. The team was at the peak of the Southeast Division; what was not to be pleased about?

Michael Smith
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Walking into the room today you would have felt the same buzz, the liveliness, the energy and the positivity.

“At this point, if you get caught up in the games in the past, you’re going to lose your mind,” defenseman Tim Gleason said. “The only way [to move forward] is to stay lose and not play uptight.”

Understandably, an undercurrent of frustration cuts sharply through the mood in the room at times. The Hurricanes have dropped a team-record (since relocation) seven games in a row and a franchise-record eight straight at home. The team’s last win at PNC Arena came over a calendar month ago on March 9, a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

“Obviously, when we come in after games and we’re losing hockey games, it’s not a good mood,” Gleason said. “Sure, there’s frustration, and it goes back to not winning hockey games.

“I think when you’re winning hockey games, there’s less finger-pointing, there’s less of a lot of things. You play with ease, and you play with confidence. Right now, we’re trying to find that confidence.”

With the belief that the effort has consistently been present – and it has produced tangible evidence in shots and scoring chances – the hope is that favorable results aren’t too far off in the distance.

Really, one game could be all it takes.

“We’ve shown some promise in the last couple of games, but we have to find a way to get a win,” Gleason said. “We just need a win right now, and the confidence will come.”

“The results aren’t what we want, but I think if we stay with it, I think in the big picture we’ll be OK,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “It seems like every little mistake we make, we pay the price on it. And you’ve got to fight back through it.

“I think what we need is to get rewarded for the effort they’re putting in. One of these games, I think they’re going to break loose.”

They’ll have to do it tonight against the Boston Bruins, who are knocking on the door of the Northeast Division lead, trailing Montreal by just a point. A point is also all Boston needs to clinch their six straight postseason berth.

After sweeping the season series with Boston for the first time in franchise history last season, the Hurricanes have dropped both meetings with the Bruins this season.

The last contest between these two teams was played just five days ago in Boston. Surrendering two goals on the Bruins’ first four shots in the opening eight minutes of the game quickly sank the Hurricanes, as Boston cruised to a 6-2 victory.

Justin Peters, who was yanked at the 7:58 mark of the first period in that Boston game, will get another crack at the Bruins tonight. It will be his fourth straight start, and after putting together a 28-save performance in Washington on Thursday night, Muller said Peters has earned the crease for tonight’s game.

“He’s been battling,” Muller said. “Just like the rest of the guys, if you’re going to keep fighting that way and battling, I think he deserves another crack at it.

“When you’re playing like that, you deserve the net again. Hopefully this is the night he gets his win.”

As a team, the Hurricanes will continue to fight and battle, now exactly two weeks from the end of this abbreviated season.

“The old saying is that it’s not over until it’s over,” Gleason said. Everyone in here has a job to do, and you have to do it to the best of your ability. From a personal standpoint, I think that’s what you look at.”



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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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