Road warrior Hurricanes back home to face Oilers
- G Luongo retires after 19 NHL seasons
- Blues sign Berube to 3-year extension
- Orpik retires after 15 seasons, 2 titles
- Karlsson, others choosing to stay put
- Devils' ascent relies on Hughes, Subban
The Carolina Hurricanes are coming off one of the best road trips in franchise history.
Now they want to make sure they follow that up with a strong three-game homestand. That next stretch begins Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers in Raleigh, N.C.
"We're trying to scratch and claw and get ourselves in the mix," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said, referring to the Eastern Conference playoff picture. "We don't really look to the past. We move on and try to get that next one."
Yet the recent stretch was pretty good to the Hurricanes (29-22-6, 64 points). Carolina matched the best record in franchise history for a five-game road trip with a 4-1-0 mark.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 4-1 victory Tuesday night at Ottawa, where a four-goal third period provided the good feelings.
Converting at the offensive end continues to be a sticking point at times. Carolina has reached the four-goal mark in three of its last five games.
"We talk about sticking with it, but it's hard when you're struggling to find the net," Brind'Amour said.
The Hurricanes have made some adjustments in order to get center Sebastian Aho more touches of the puck. They'd also like to see left winger Teuvo Teravainen launch more toward the net, because that generally produces good results.
Teravainen scored twice in the Ottawa game, pushing his total goals to 17 for the season. That's the second-most on the team behind Aho's 24.
Yet so much of the success in the offensive zone comes down to the ability make things happen on power plays. It's like a bonus when Carolina scores with the man advantage, because it has had one of the most sluggish power plays in the NHL this season.
"Every game, the power play has a chance to be the difference," said Brind'Amour, whose team has four power-play goals across the past four contests after a three-game drought. Two of those came at Ottawa.
The Oilers (24-27-5, 53 points) began a three-game road trip with Wednesday night's 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Edmonton has only one victory in February (1-3-2), but the performance in Pittsburgh was encouraging for a team that's chasing a Western Conference playoff spot.
"We've got to continue to take steps," Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We have to follow this up with continual good games if we want to stay in this race. We have to keep playing well so we have a chance to even go for it."
The Pittsburgh game included an early lead for the Oilers and a final advantage of 39-34 in shots.
"We did a lot of things really well," Hitchcock said. "The stuff about playing for each other on the five-man shift, we did exactly that. It didn't lack for scoring chances."
Oilers center Connor McDavid is without a goal in four straight games, though he has an eight-game points streak.
"I have to find a way to bear down," McDavid said.
McDavid posted two assists in the Jan. 20 matchup with the Hurricanes, who won that game 7-4 in Edmonton.
Last season, the teams split two meetings, with each winning on the road.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 14, 2019