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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Building on the Positives

Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 1:30 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Building on the Positives
It\'s easy to dwell on what could have been. But, it was game one of 82. The Canes emerged with a point, and can build on a host of positives.
It’s easy to look back at Friday night – all of the pageantry and emotion of Opening Night – and dwell on the fact that the Carolina Hurricanes were 16.4 seconds away from two points.

Michael Smith
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But, it was game one of 82. The Canes emerged with an ever-important point, and can build on a host of positives. Now, they look toward their Sunday evening match-up with their new Metropolitan Division foe, the Philadelphia Flyers.

“We’ve got to play 60 minutes or 60 minutes plus. We can’t let our guard down or let up. It was a good example last night,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “It’s okay. It’s a little learning curve. We gave up a point, which we’re not happy about, but for playing our first game, the jitters at home and playing a good team, I thought there were a lot more positives than negatives.”

Cam Ward was a positive, as he stopped 35 of 38 shots, continuing his strong play from the team’s final two preseason games in which he stopped 43 of 44 combined shots.

The Canes’ special teams succeeded at both ends of the ice. The man advantage scored once in three tries, and the penalty kill disposed all three of Detroit’s power play opportunities.

Muller added that the Hurricanes’ even-strength game was also up to the challenge of facing a deep and experienced Detroit squad.

“We looked at all the positives last night to build on,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “Five-on-five, you take away the four-on-four and six-on-five, and we gave up one goal. So I thought in five-on-five hockey, we competed hard and played well. Lots of positive stuff to keep building on.”

“I think we gave up like five scoring chances in the first two periods,” forward Jiri Tlusty said. “That’s what we want. That’s the identity of our team and what we’re trying to improve.”

The team’s second line of Jordan Staal, Patrick Dwyer and Nathan Gerbe carried their preseason chemistry into last night’s regular-season premiere. The trio combined for eight shots (including a team-high five from Gerbe), three blocked shots and two takeaways, all while being matched up against Pavel Datsyuk’s top line.

“They play the game the right way, and they do it against top players,” Muller said. “They played a hard forechecking game. They came back hard, and they defended well. They just played a really smart game, and they just got their opportunities by doing it. They’ve been really consistent since they’ve been together.”

Muller called last night’s game Staal’s best as a Hurricane.

“That’s the type of player that we’re going to see this year,” he said.

Muller said final lineup decisions for Sunday’s game would be made that morning. There were no additions, subtractions or changes to the lines at practice on Saturday.

“I thought the pairings were good last night,” Muller said. “We’ll watch Philly tonight and see what kind of lineup they have. We’ll make some decisions in the morning based on what we feel we want to do here, what’s best for us and what kind of lineup we’re matching up with.”

Sunday’s game is a 5 p.m. faceoff, a quick turnaround for the Flyers who are in Montreal tonight.

“We have to come ready to play tomorrow night and just jump on them,” Tlusty said. “It’s hard to play back-to-backs at the start of the season, so we have to take advantage of that and play as hard as we can.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45