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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Canes Get Second Crack at Pens

Monday, 10.28.2013 / 12:15 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Canes Get Second Crack at Pens
After dropping a 5-2 decision to the Penguins less than three weeks ago, the Canes look to even the score in a Metropolitan Division match-up.
For the second time in less than three weeks, the Carolina Hurricanes will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in a battle between the second and first place teams, respectively, in the Metropolitan Division.

Michael Smith
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The Hurricanes would like a different outcome.

In Pittsburgh on Oct. 8, a three-goal third period from the Penguins, punctuated by Jussi Jokinen’s hat trick, buried the Canes in a 5-2 defeat, their first regulation loss of the young season. The two teams combined for 71 shots (Pittsburgh had 37, Carolina had 34), the most in a Carolina game this season.

“I’m not so much concerned about the amount of shots. It’s where the shots come from and the quality of shots. They’ve got some firepower over there,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “The last couple of times playing Pittsburgh, we’ve given them too many easy plays around the net and gave them more time than we wanted to for them to execute and make those plays. So we’ve got to tighten it up and play the game the right way.”

Playing the game the right way begins in the first period, and the Hurricanes have made it a point to address their starts after spotting Minnesota and Colorado two goals each in the opening frames of their last two losses.

“As a group, consistently, we just have to be smarter with some of the decisions we’re making, especially in the first period,” Eric Staal said after Sunday’s practice. “It’s just about being smarter in our game and not beating ourselves in certain positions on the ice. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”

“We don’t have to try to go out and win the game in the first. It’s more to go out and do the right things in the first,” Muller said. “Come out with enthusiasm, but channel it in the right way that we’re not giving up quality scoring chances.”

Patrick Dwyer will draw back into the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. He’ll slot in on the right side on the second line, which should regularly match up against Sidney Crosby’s first line.

“Patty’s ready to go. He feels good,” Muller said. “That’s a pretty solid line to match up with some of their key lines.”

Justin Peters’ last start against the Penguins came in an 8-3 trouncing in the 2012-13 regular-season finale. But that was then, and this is now.

“We went in with a pretty depleted lineup last year in the last game of the year. I don’t really compare it,” Muller said. “We’re a whole different group right now. We’re fresh, and it’s a big game, even for this time of year.”

Nathan Gerbe will play in his 200th NHL game tonight against the same team that he faced in his second NHL game. He’ll do so skating on the right wing opposite Alexander Semin, who is riding a three game point streak (1g, 3a), on the first line.

The Canes have earned points in 13 of their last 18 home games against Pittsburgh, and they hold a 15-8-3 home record against the Pens since moving to Raleigh in 1999.

Tonight’s game also features two teams looking to get off the schneid; the Canes have lost two straight, and the Penguins have dropped three in a row.

“I think [tonight] will be an interesting game. There will be a lot of emotion and intensity,” Muller said. “We’re looking at it like we lost two. They’re going to be hungry and not very happy, and we’re not.”

“We feel we’ve got a really good team in here that could be higher up on the [standings] than we are. We don’t want to be satisfied with where we’re at,” Staal said. “We want to make sure we’re striving to be one of the top teams in the East.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61