Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Drop the Puck

Friday, 10.4.2013 / 12:30 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Drop the Puck
It\u2019s (finally) time. After a week\u2019s worth of practice, the Canes begin the 2013-14 regular season against the Detroit Red Wings.
It’s (finally) time.

Michael Smith
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After a week’s worth of practice, the Carolina Hurricanes begin the 2013-14 regular season against the Detroit Red Wings, a new Eastern Conference opponent.

“It’s been a long, anxious week, and the guys are just excited to get started,” Jordan Staal said. “I’m sure there are a few nerves in the room, but that’s a good thing. Guys will be ready to play.”

Elias Lindholm, the team’s fifth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, will make his NHL regular season debut, and he gets to do so against a team with eight Swedes on its roster. Lindholm, 18, said he golfed with Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg last summer.

“It’s cool to meet Detroit in the first game,” Lindholm said. “I’m excited, and it’s going to be fun.”

Lindholm said his parents will be at PNC Arena tonight to watch him make his debut. So, how are the nerves?

“Still a couple of hours left,” he said with a smile. “I’m going to be nervous in a couple of hours.”

Canes head coach Kirk Muller said he can relate to first-game jitters. He made his NHL regular season debut against the New York Islanders in 1984. In the five seasons prior, the Islanders captured four straight Stanley Cups and five straight conference championships.

“I know exactly what they’re thinking. You’ve got to just go out and play and have fun,” Muller said. “They’ll be nervous. First opening game like this, and they’re playing against some pretty mature guys over there.”

Detroit, now a member of the eight-team Atlantic Division, comes to Raleigh already having topped the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Wednesday night.

“They’ve been good for a very long time. We’re going to have to limit our mistakes,” Staal said. “If we play the way we can, I think we’ll be just fine.”

“We’re going to play a team tonight that we respect, and a team that’s not going to beat themselves. We’ve got to do the same as them,” Muller said. “We can’t go out and beat ourselves. We have to play a smart, disciplined game against these guys.”

The Canes had a trio of players return to good health this week, and they’ll all be in the lineup tonight. Lindholm will center the fourth line, Jeff Skinner will slot in on the third-line wing with Riley Nash and newly-signed Radek Dvorak and Alexander Semin will appear in his usual right-wing position on the first line. The lineup gives the Hurricanes four balanced lines of attack, something they’ll need against a deep Detroit squad.

This marks the first meeting between the two teams since March 24, 2012, a 5-4 win for the Wings in Detroit. Carolina holds a 3-2 record in the last five meetings between the two teams in Raleigh; the Wings and Canes last met in North Carolina on April 6, 2011, a 3-0 victory for Cam Ward (who made 42 saves) and the Hurricanes. Tonight marks the first time Carolina will face Detroit in their season opener.

As the clock ticks closer to puck drop in the 2013-14 regular season, Lindholm said the key to a successful debut is simple.

“I’ll try to play my game and have fun. That’s what’s most important: to have fun,” he said. “This is what you dream about, and now you’re here, so enjoy the moment and have fun.”



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