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Finding A Silver Lining: Positive Tidbits Through Two Hurricanes Games

It would be easy to throw out statistics to verify how bad the Carolina Hurricanes were in the season's first two games. but there were some positives that can be built on heading in to Tuesday's game at home vs. the Lightning.

  • If you're going to have success in the NHL, puck possession is key. Where does that begin? In the faceoff circle, of course. As expected, captain Rod Brind’Amour has been dominant in the early going. But his 27-wins-to-nine-losses start (75 percent) borders on the absurd. The team currently ranks seventh in the league at 55.3 percent, a couple spots better and about four percent higher than last year. Most importantly, Eric Staal seems to have improved on the draw, something that seemed evident in the preseason and is thus far confirmed through two games. He's won one more than he's lost (22-21) and has a 51.2 winning percentage. Staal won just 45.3 percent of his faceoffs last year, and that was the best of his career. Faceoffs have been Staal's one glaring weakness, but he may have finally turned a corner on them.
  • Aaron Ward and Andrew Alberts have added some of what they're known for in the early going, even if their overall results haven't been so good. Ward leads the team in blocked shots with five, taking on a role he has throughout his career and filling the gap left by the departure of 2008-09 leading shot blocker Dennis Seidenberg. Alberts has dished out five hits, including his best-hit-of-the-year-so-far entry on Jeff Carter in the opener. On the negative side, Alberts has been on the ice for a team-worst six goals against (three while killing penalties). 
  • Carolina was outscored 9-2 in their first two outings, with only Scott Walker, Ray Whitney and Sergei Samsonov yet to be on the ice for a goal.
  • A cure for what ails you? How about Tampa Bay coming to town Tuesday. The revamped (again) Lightning got off to a rough start, dropping their opener 6-3 to Atlanta. The Canes won all six games against the Bolts last season. It's also a chance to see No. 2-overall pick Victor Hedman, who logged 26:27 of ice time against the Thrashers and got his first NHL point when his shot was tipped in by Martin St. Louis
  • River Rats Drayson Bowman and Chris Terry each got their first professional goals in Albany's season-opener against Manchester, a 6-3 loss. Brett Carson had the other. Zach Boychuk and Jerome Samson netted assists for the Rats.
  • The Panthers signed free agent Dominic Moore, adding a little more firepower to their lineup. Moore isn't going to score 25 or 30 goals, but he has an outside shot at 20 if he gets a lot of ice time. Just like their signing of Seidenberg, the Panthers gave Moore a one-year deal.