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Building on the Positives

Saturday, 10.5.2013 / 1:30 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Building on the 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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81