Even when potential areas of concern turn out favorably, the Carolina Hurricanes are in one of those stretches when they can’t quite seem to notch the desired result.
They’ve had troubles producing on power plays and they have growing concerns about goaltending depth. There were encouraging developments on both those fronts this week.
The next step will be actually winning another game. Carolina, which has lost five consecutive games, meets the Calgary Flames on Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.
“We had our chances,” Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook said after Carolina’s 3-2 overtime loss at Boston on Friday. “It wasn’t like we weren’t getting anything. You give them those chances and it’s a law of averages. We have to know when to not take penalties and try to play at five-on-five.”
The defeat against the Bruins came after the Hurricanes squandered a two-goal lead. Carolina wound up losing in overtime for the fourth time on its five-game skid.
“We’re in one of those (stretches) where the bounces are certainly going the other way all the time so we’re going to have to just keep digging in,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
The Flames are wrapping up a six-game road trip with the only back-to-back set on the swing. But with an afternoon game at Washington on Friday, though the Flames took a 3-0 loss, Calgary coach Darryl Sutter hopes the team can take advantage of how the schedule breaks down.
“Play hard, that’s what we’re doing,” Sutter said. “Be honest, work hard and then go from there. It’s a long trip, for sure, but we’re not going to have a late night, so let’s use that.”
Calgary is 2-2-1 on the trip.
A good aspect for Carolina on Friday was ending a string of 21 power plays in a row without a goal. That went by the wayside when Stefan Noesen scored in the first period at Boston. By the end of the period, the Hurricanes had two goals, both with a man advantage.
“I don’t think our power play was that good,” Brind’Amour said. “I’ve seen it much better when we didn’t score.”
The Hurricanes have areas to address on the defensive end as well.
Brind’Amour prefers to avoid heavy regular-season workloads for his goalies, but now Pyotr Kochetkov has appeared in four straight games. It’s possible that goalie Antti Raanta could be ready for Saturday’s game, but he hasn’t been at full strength since he was nixed as the likely starter for the Wednesday game against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Flames might get going on offense with more good work from Jonathan Huberdeau. The veteran center, who topped 20 goals in each of the past five seasons, has just three goals and six assists in 17 games this season.
“I think Jonathan’s game has come a long way in the last five or six games, so trying to get him out there as much as you can,” Sutter said. “We’ve got to play a certain way to win — a real check, grind game. That’s the way it’s going to be. But then you need guys to score, so if they’re playing good enough, you try and get them a couple of shifts.”
Former Carolina forward Elias Lindholm is Calgary’s leader on offense with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists).
–Field Level Media