Amid the worst start in franchise history, the Carolina Hurricanes are doing their best to remain positive.
The Hurricanes again try for that elusive first victory Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes, who are in danger of opening with five straight road losses for the first time in 22 years.
After being outscored 20-6 during an 0-4-1 trip, Carolina (0-6-2) is obviously frustrated but still optimistic.
Article continues below ...
"We’ve got to get the first one and go from there," coach Bill Peters told the Hurricanes’ official website. "The longer it goes, the harder it becomes.
"There’s lots of hockey left to be played. The guys have been good. They’re mentally strong. Are we fragile at times? We probably are; that’s human nature. But we’ve got to overcome that."
Peters feels his club is working hard toward that first step.
"We’ve got to stay with it and stay together but be realistic about where we’re at," he said.
Carolina has not scored more than three goals in a game and its 1.88 per contest rank 28th in the league. It’s gone 1 for 17 on the power play since scoring four times on nine chances in the first two games.
The Hurricanes allowed 15 goals on the final three legs of their trip, which concluded with Tuesday’s 4-1 loss at Vancouver. Cam Ward dropped to 0-3-1 with a 3.95 goals-against average after yielding three on 24 shots.
Back from missing five games with an upper-body injury, Eric Staal assisted on Jiri Tlusty’s fifth goal.
With Staal in the mix and fellow forward Nathan Gerbe expected back after sitting the last four with a lower-body injury, the Hurricanes at the very least are getting healthy.
Peters, though, needs improvement from forward Alexander Semin, who has no goals with two assists and was benched for most of the third period at Vancouver.
"He’s not playing at the pace the league is at," Peters said about Semin, who was second on the team with 22 goals last season.
"We’ve talked. We’ve talked a lot. We’ll see."
Semin didn’t have a point while Carolina split its two games with the Coyotes last season, but Staal had two goals with two assists.
Though the Hurricanes have won three straight at Arizona, they’ve dropped three in a row at home to the Coyotes.
Arizona (3-5-1) hopes to avoid its first five-game road skid to open a season since the 1992-93 team went a franchise-worst 0-8-0 while based in Winnipeg.
The Coyotes recorded 33 shots but dropped their second straight on a four-game trip, 2-1 at Florida on Thursday.
Arizona has totaled seven goals during its 0-3-1 road start.
”There’s lot of try there,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ”But our execution still has to improve if we’re going to create more chances to score."
With an assist on Martin Hanzal’s power-play goal Thursday, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has a point in all but two games.
After yielding six goals in a 7-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Arizona’s Mike Smith stopped 24 of 26 shots against the Panthers. He’s posted a 2.33 GAA during his three-game winning streak at Carolina.