Hurricanes look for payback versus Jets
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes end a five-game homestand Sunday against a team that put them in a bad mood at the start of the season.
Across the past month, the Hurricanes figure they've become a different team since the season-opening loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
“It's a good redemption game for us,” Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said. “I think we've learned a lot since that game. We've done a good job of finding ways to win as of late.”
When the Jets visit, the game will mark the return to Raleigh for coach Paul Maurice, who had two different stints as coach of the Hurricanes.
Maurice's team won the Oct. 13 season opener with a 5-4 overtime decision at home, rallying from a three-goal deficit in the final 15 minutes in the third period.
“We all remember what happened in game one (of the season) and we can use that as motivation,” Carolina goaltender Cam Ward said.
The outcome turned into a bad memory, though there were positive aspects to a degree for the Hurricanes.
“A lot of it went the way we wanted,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said of last month's opener. “We've got to clean up some details. … We're a much different team now, a better team. We should have a little bit of revenge on our mind.”
Trying to tack on to a three-game winning streak is also part of Sunday's motivation for the Hurricanes, who've defeated Washington, San Jose and Montreal.
“We've been beating the top teams in the league and we're feeling comfortable with our team,” center Victor Rask said.
This is a chance for the Hurricanes to extend momentum.
“Getting that last win here on the homestand is very, very important,” defenseman Ron Hainsey said. “Sunday's game is one we have to be ready for right off the hop.”
Ward will be in the net again, with Peters saying he's keeping the lineup that has produced.
“I just feel like I'm in a rhythm. Just comfortable and confident with what I'm doing,” Ward said. “We're building some momentum here at home and it's important that we respond.”
This will be the Jets' third stop on a five-game road trip. The lost their second game in a row by dropping a 4-1 decision to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
With a quick turnaround from the game in Boston, Maurice said the plan is to split the goaltending duties, meaning it would be Connor Hellbuyck's turn Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Jets are anxious to see improved results on power plays. The Jets were 0-for-4 on Saturday night.
“We've put a lot of pucks at the net,” Maurice said. “We're working on other pieces of it.”
Sunday's game will be the fifth in eight days for the Jets.
“We've had a pretty hard schedule,” said right winger Nikolaj Ehlers, who has had a strong November. “For me, it's a learning phase. It's exciting to play this much, this is what you want. I feel good out there right now and hopefully I can keep building this.”