Hurricanes going to California without Staal

Dec 4, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks center Logan Shaw (48) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Sergei Belski/Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Carolina Hurricanes will miss one of their leaders when they begin their road trip in California on Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center.

Center Jordan Staal, one of the team's three alternate captains, has not recovered from a concussion he suffered Nov. 27 in a 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers. Staal skated at the Hurricanes' training complex in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday but as coach Bill Peters told the Raleigh News & Observer, “it didn't go great.”

Staal will have missed seven consecutive games once the trip ends. Carolina faces the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night and finishes the trip against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Staal's absence puts more pressure on an offense that scored only 58 goals, the second-lowest total in the Eastern Conference. In their past five road games, the Hurricanes have only seven.

“We have to find a way to score more,” Peters told NHL.com. “We've got to be willing to do the right things in order to score. I want to see more guys in the blue paint. I want to see guys making it harder on the goaltender. If we do that, we'll be successful.”

For Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk, doing the right things goes beyond getting more guys in the blue paint of the goal crease.

“It's not necessarily just the guys in front,” Faulk told NHL.com. “It's getting shots from the inside, being able to work to get inside the dots and create chances 'in the house.' To generate more offense and score more goals, we've got to be able to work our way inside and make it tough on them.”

Backup goalie Eddie Lack will also stay behind because of a concussion but forward Elias Lindholm and defenseman Ryan Murphy will make the trip. Lindholm missed the past two games because of a lower-body injury, and Murphy finished his conditioning assignment with Charlotte of the AHL.

Meanwhile, the Ducks are concerned about goalie John Gibson and left winger Rickard Rakell, their second-leading goal scorer. Both missed Sunday's 8-3 rout by the Calgary Flames. Gibson had the flu while Rakell nursed an upper-body injury. Both skated in Tuesday's practice, with Rakell wearing a non-contact jersey.

“I'm starting to feel better,” Rakell told NHL.com and added that he is “just taking it day by day, hoping it gets even better tomorrow.”

If Rakell cannot play, Nick Ritchie likely would take over his spot on the Ducks' top line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right winger Corey Perry.

Anaheim's quest for consistency collides with a quick opponent seeking only its fourth road win this season.

“We're going to have to be ready for a Carolina team that can really skate and push the pace of play,” defenseman Cam Fowler told NHL.com. “They have an aggressive style of play. Some teams will set up in a neutral-zone trap or a controlled forecheck, but they don't really do that. If they have an opportunity to pressure the puck, they will. They rely on their skating to get them back into games.”