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Maurice Unhappy with Forwards' Defense

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
Paul Maurice audio

After a loss as disappointing as last night’s 5-0 showing against Florida, sometimes the next step is to move on and try and pretend like it didn’t happen.

That wasn’t the case today for the Hurricanes.

“Over the course of the regular season there will be some games where you say “Lets just burn the tape” and you don’t even talk about it the next day,” said Coach Paul Maurice. “We talk about playoff hockey, and part of that mentality is that you deal with it, then you leave it. There were things that happened in the game last night that cannot happen in our next game, and we dealt with those, then we practiced, then we left it.”

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Maurice saw one particular area – namely, the defensive commitment from his forwards in coming back to help break the puck out of their own zone – that sorely needed to be addressed.

He used the example of Florida’s first goal by Nathan Horton, when Joe Corvo skated back behind his own net but lost the puck to David Booth, whose slow centering pass was picked up in open ice by Keith Ballard, who then found Horton for the easy tally. | Watch the goal

“When we had the puck on our stick going to breakout position, we left a hole in the middle of the ice because we just didn’t work hard enough to get back there,” said Maurice. Joe’s got the puck going back behind the net and we’re waiting for Joe to do something good and then away we go.

“We were nowhere near in position to recover from it because we were a step ahead of the play instead of doing the hard work to stay onto the puck, and that was a big part of our problem.”

The second goal was more of the same, with Florida dumping it in and winning the puck from Corvo before finding an open man in the middle of the ice. | Watch

That may lead one to place the squarely on the shoulders of Corvo, who finished the night with an unsightly -4, but Maurice was clearly more upset with his forwards.

“It looked like Joe is the dog, but if everybody had skated as hard back from the red line to get the puck as Joe did, there’s no play there,” said Maurice.  "Everybody did a good job of watching Joe."

The only forwards to come out of last night’s game with an even plus/minus rating were the third and fourth lines, which underwent a bit of a shuffle today. Jussi Jokinen moved to left wing on a line with Rod Brind’Amour and Chad LaRose, who moves to the right. Brandon Sutter is back at center with Ryan Bayda and Patrick Eaves. | Depth Chart

"Roddy skated better last night than he has for a month," said Maurice.  "He looked good."

Also, Dennis Seidenberg was paired with Niclas Wallin, so look for him to return to the lineup tomorrow night. Unless his status changes between now and game time (it’s happened before, as Maurice pointed out), he would take the place of Bryan Rodney, who was paired with Frank Kaberle today and may be heading back to Albany soon.

If Seidenberg returns, that just leaves Scott Walker on the team’s injury list. Still no sign of him at practice.

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