On Monday night, the Canes' Pat Dwyer took his kids around the neighborhood on Halloween. Even in the rain, that was a treat.
Tonight, he'll be on the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning, trying to slow down the likes of Marty St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vinny Lecavalier. That's the, uh, trick.
"That is going from one side of the spectrum to the other," Dwyer said after today's morning skate at the RBC Center. "But I think those are the things that keep us balanced and keep it in perspective and keep us level-grounded."
Dwyer has been a part of Brandon Sutter's line most of the season, often checking the other teams' best forwards. Against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, that meant the likes of Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews. A night later, it was Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr of the Philadelphia Flyers.
It won't be any easier tonight against the Lightning, who spoiled the Canes' season-opener with a 5-1 win Oct. 7 at the RBC Center.
"It's the skill they bring to the game," Dwyer said. "You sit back and watch them. I was joking with a buddy back home after the first game of season about how they were throwing some spin-o-rama passes that I can't even pull off in shinny hockey in the summer.
"The skill level they bring to the game you have to respect when you go against them. You need to play them hard or you're going to look even goofier if you sit back on them. It is quite a challenge."
Stamkos has a team-high six goals and a six-game point streak for the Bolts, who have won four of their past five games, although defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron leads the Bolts with 12 points (2g, 10 a).
St. Louis has three goals, and the first came in the season-opener against the Canes. Nothing new, though. St. Louis, 36, has feasted on the Hurricanes during his career, with 35 goals and 71 points in 63 games.
Dwyer, 28, isn't taller than many players in the league but at 5-11 has three inches on St. Louis. Dwyer is listed at 175 pounds and St. Louis at 176, although St. Louis appears thicker.
"You respect him and the way he did it, coming out of a small college undrafted, to do what he has done in the league and to stick with it when I'm sure his whole career he's been told 'you're too small, you're too small,'" Dwyer said. "For him to be doing what he's doing at that age and at his size is amazing."
Dwyer had eight hits in the Flyers game, so he can use his size well. Effective on the right wing on the Sutter line, he is plus-3 for the season.
"I really liked his game (at Philly)," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "He had seven hits through two periods and was really skating well. He seems comfortable in that role and his speed adds something to that line. A big part of it (is) their ability to check and still generate some offense and he's been a really good player for us."