Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Canes' Approach Unchanged

Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 2:55 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
X
Share with your Friends


Canes\' Approach Unchanged
Despite being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Canes want to push hard and compete to the end of the season.
Mathematics, though bleak, beget a lingering sense of hope.

Michael Smith
Follow on Twitter

Then, with a 4-1 loss in New York on Tuesday night, that ever faint glimmer of hope dissipated, as the Carolina Hurricanes were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for the fifth straight season.

It was a frustrating finality, for sure, but three games still remain in the regular season.

“We need to win these hockey games. I’m trying to think of way to phrase this, but it doesn’t matter what mathematical elimination means. It means everything, and it means nothing at the same time,” defenseman Jay Harrison said. “We go out there and play for the front of our jersey and for the back – we have team pride and personal pride. It’s an honor to be here [in the NHL]. To not go out and give your best would be taking the privilege for granted, and I don’t think anyone intends to do that this weekend.”

“We’re going to push it right to end, play the game the right way and compete the right way. It’s our responsibility to do that,” head coach Kirk Muller said. “We’re not letting up on the things we’ve been talking about since day one, and we expect everyone to play the same way right until the end.”

Situationally, the balance of the season becomes undoubtedly different. But in terms of preparation, it’s just another handful of days at the rink.

“No, there’s not a chance [we change our preparation]. We prepare to win. We prepare our bodies physically and prepare our minds mentally the same way for every challenge,” Harrison said. “You can’t go into a game unprepared, regardless of the stakes.”

“We’ve got to keep everyone focused and in good habits. We’re all pros, and I think that’s important that we come to practice,” Muller said after running the team through a 45-minute skate on Wednesday. “Same approach, same focus and same preparation. Just push to the end.”

At the same time, there’s no denying the disappointment that is inherent with an imminent long summer, especially considering this has been the case in for five straight seasons.

“It goes without saying, obviously. I’m very disappointed,” captain Eric Staal said. “It’s a fine line between winning and losing, and we found ways to lose sometimes whether it was a breakdown or a special teams play or not bearing down on a chance. We just didn’t find a way to get the result at the end of the night.”

“It is disappointing,” Muller said. “As far as this year, I’m not happy that we didn’t make the playoffs, but I want to be around to change this thing around.”

“Unfortunately we’ve felt it the last couple of years in a row here. It’s all too familiar, perhaps. There’s a sense of deflation, initially,” Harrison said. “But you get back out there, run your reps and enjoy the game.”

Getting back out there for the Canes begins on Thursday when they host the Washington Capitals in their home finale.

As far as the game goes, Anton Khudobin will get the nod in net. Forward Nathan Gerbe, defenseman Ryan Murphy (upper body) and goaltender Cam Ward (upper body) are questionable. Defenseman Andrej Sekera (lower body) is being re-evaluated and remains doubtful. Forward Jiri Tlusty (upper body) is probable.

When the Canes host the Caps on Thursday, it’s game No. 79 of 82, and though the stakes are considerably less than game No. 78, the Canes are approaching it and treating it as if it were game No. 1.

“I want to push hard here for these next three games, and then we’ll address everything – good and bad – at the end,” Muller said.

“Just compete and work hard. It’s never fun being out of the playoffs and not playing for anything. But you come to the work, be a pro, work and compete,” Staal said. “We’ve got a home game against a divisional team we don’t like very much, and we’d like to squash it on them. Hopefully our guys come ready to play.”



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