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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Gameday: Fan Appreciation Week Kicks Off vs. Stars

Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 12:15 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Gameday: Fan Appreciation Week Kicks Off vs. Stars
Just 6 games remain in the 2013-14 regular season, and as head coach Kirk Muller has said, there is still a lot of fight left with the Canes.
Just six games remain in the 2013-14 regular season, and as head coach Kirk Muller has said, there is still a lot of fight left with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Michael Smith
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That was evident on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, when the Canes rode a tremendous team effort to a 4-1 win against a team destined for a top playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re picking up points with wins and some [overtime losses], but [overtime losses] aren’t going to cut it right now. We have to get the two points,” Muller said. “We’re playing hard and smart. Our special teams are winning that game right now, our goaltending has been strong and five-on-five we haven’t given up much. It’s just scoring timely goals hasn’t been there in some of these games where we could maybe make the difference.”

On Tuesday, the Canes got a timely goal from Justin Faulk late in a first period that was otherwise controlled by the Penguins. The Hurricanes would go on to add three more goals, two from Elias Lindholm, to secure a 4-1 win.

“They’ve really elevated their game, whether it’s five-on-five or on the power play. They have nice chemistry with (Riley) Nash, and they’ve been producing offensively,” Muller said of Lindholm and linemate Jeff Skinner, who is riding a career-high-tying six-game point streak. “They’ve been playing a real smart game, competing, challenging the defense and they’re on the puck getting lots of opportunities.”

Tonight, the Canes host the Dallas Stars, who control the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with 85 points (37-27-11). The two teams faced off in Dallas shortly after the Olympic break, a game in which the Stars scored twice shorthanded en route to a 4-1 victory.

They key to reversing those fortunes tonight?

“A lot of puck management,” Muller said, simply. “When we played them last time in there, they really had the pace on us. We have to manage the puck well tonight. We have to get it behind their D and make them play in their zone.”

Anton Khudobin, who made 30 saves on 31 shots in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, will get his second start versus Dallas this year as he looks for win No. 18 on the season. His .930 save percentage ranks third among all NHL goaltenders.

In other lineup notes, forwards Alexander Semin (who missed Tuesday’s game) and Drayson Bowman did not skate this morning and are questionable for tonight with illnesses. Zach Boychuk has been recalled on an emergency basis.

This marks the third recall for Boychuk this season, who has tallied a goal and three assists in nine NHL games this season. Boychuk earned CCM/AHL Player of the Month honors in March after posting 22 points (9g, 13a) in 16 games.

Forward Jiri Tlusty will remain out of the lineup tonight with an upper-body injury. He didn’t skate this morning and is day-to-day.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey did not skate this morning, either, but should be good to go for tonight, Muller said. Hainsey and his wife are expecting in the very near future.

Tonight’s game, the first of three remaining regular-season home games for the Canes, kicks off Fan Appreciation Week. The first 10,000 fans in the door tonight will receive a Justin Faulk bobblehead presented by Compuware. The games on Saturday and Thursday feature more giveaways – a team poster and a hat – plus South Plaza Parties and more. Additional details can be found here.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 47 27 12 8 143 120 62
6 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
7 WSH 47 24 14 9 140 124 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 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