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Gameday: Streaking Canes Host Sliding Ducks

Friday, 11.15.2013 / 12:20 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Streaking Canes Host Sliding Ducks
The Carolina Hurricanes began their season-long, five-game homestand 10 days ago. At that time, they were sliding, having dropped five straight games and looking for something to help turn the tide.

Michael Smith
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A dramatic 2-1 overtime victory did the trick, and now they have strung together points in four straight games, securing seven out of a possible eight points. Tonight, the Canes will close out their homestand against the Anaheim Ducks.

“We want to get every point we can every game. We feel we’re capable of doing that each night,” forward Nathan Gerbe said. “Coming out tonight we have a real good team in Anaheim.”

The Ducks are on a skid of their own, having dropped two straight in the state of Florida, as they were outscored 8-3. Even still, they sit atop the Pacific Division at 15-5-1 (31 points), thanks in part to their nine-game point streak that preceded their recent slide.

“I’m sure they’re disappointed in their game last night, so they’ll be ready to go,” head coach Kirk Muller said.

But the focus is not on the opposite locker room.

“Our focus has to be that we’ve finally turned the corner and are playing some good hockey … so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play a high-tempo game tonight,” Muller said.

“They’re going to be a hungry team, and they need to win,” Gerbe said. “You see teams like this all the time during the year, but it doesn’t matter. You just have to go out and play.”

The second line of Gerbe, Jordan Staal and Patrick Dwyer played a crucial role in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Colorado, shutting down the Avalanche’s top line while also contributing the team’s only two goals of the game.

That same effort will be required from the team as a whole tonight, as the Ducks rank fourth in the NHL with an average of 3.24 goals per game.

“What’s happening is the guys are buying into the fact that if we play well defensively, we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win every night, and then it’s a matter of what you bring to the table consistently. We’ve been doing that,” Muller said. “We’ve been playing well and getting results with it, which is the key.

“It’s all starting to gel together, and they’re feeling it,” Muller continued. “It’s all momentum.”

In a lineup tweak, Radek Dvorak will not play tonight, despite taking the morning skate. He left Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury and did not practice on Thursday. In his stead, Mike Komisarek will draw in as the seventh defenseman. He skated on the fourth line in practice on Thursday and has been a healthy scratch for the team’s last seven games.

“A big part of our success is we’ve had four lines participating,” Muller said Thursday after practice. “Sometimes you have to look at the vibe of the team and say, hey, [Komisarek] has come in and has done great things with our young guys. He hasn’t said boo, he works out with Roddy and he’s just been a perfect pro. There’s value to that. Sometimes you reward a guy for his commitment.”

Despite not skating the last two days, Mike Murphy will back up Justin Peters, who will make his ninth straight start in net. Peters has stopped 110 of the last 114 shots he has faced.

The Hurricanes are 8-3-2 at home all-time versus Anaheim, and the Canes have earned points in three of the last four games at PNC Arena.

“It’s been a good thing for us lately that we’re getting better starts,” Muller said. “We’re at home, we should have some good energy tonight and we should feel good about ourselves. We should try to go after the momentum of the game early on.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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