Bowman hungry for more success

12/29/2013 2:34 PM

12/29/2013 2:36 PM

TORONTO -- The player who scored the last Canes goal, who forced overtime Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and had a big hand in earning the Canes a point, was left all alone Sunday.

The media corps in Toronto is a big one, and most of the media swarmed around Eric Staal and later Mike Komisarek and Jeff Skinner after the Canes' morning skate at Air Canada Centre. Drayson Bowman was left to himself, on the fringe of the pack.

That's fine with Bowman. He has his father, Mark, with him on the team's annual "fathers trip." He'll again be playing left wing on the third line with center Riley Nash and right wing Pat Dwyer on Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bowman also hopes to replicate his play against the Pens, when he was plus-one in almost 15 minutes of ice time, had three shots, scored his third goal of the season and appeared to have a blend of hunger and aggressiveness on the ice much of the game.

"I was feeling pretty good and the puck was coming to me a little bit more," Bowman said Sunday. "I kind of got in a rhythm and got to play a little bit more. I was having fun. My two line mates were skating and we were kind of clicking and holding the puck in their end. It was good."

Bowman had been on the fourth line with Manny Malhotra and Radek Dvorak in recent games. But when Jiri Tlusty underwent an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday, Canes coach Kirk Muller decided to move Bowman to Nash's line.

"Obviously you hate to see that happen to Jiri and I feel bad for him," Bowman said. "That turned into a little more of an opportunity for me and hopefully I can take advantage of it."

In Sunday's skate, Eric Staal centered Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu, Jordan Staal was at center with Nathan Gerbe and Alex Semin, and Malhotra had Zach Boychuk and Dvorak on the wings. Kevin Westgarth will be the healthy extra at forward.

With defenseman Ryan Murphy out of the lineup Sunday, the Canes could have Boychuk on the second power-play unit. Boychuk was not used on the power play Friday in his first game since being recalled from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL).

The Canes had a 2-1 lead against the Pens entering the third period, only to have Pittsburgh surge to a 3-2 lead on goals by Chris Conner and Deryk Engelland. But some hard work by Bowman's line resulted in Bowman scoring on a wraparound with 2:29 left in regulation to tie the score.

But the Canes didn't win the game. They again couldn't hold a lead in the third period and couldn't win in overtime.

"We've been putting ourselves in pretty good positions but need to keep the foot on the gas," Bowman said. "When you're up 2-1, try to make it 3-1 and make it tough on teams. It seems like teams have been tying us and we lose a little bit of momentum and it kind of snowballs from there.

"To not finish it off the last couple of games has been disappointing. We've got to keep the foot on the gas and push for that next goal and we'll get better results."

Canes beat writer Chip Alexander

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