Hurricanes look to keep Devils winless on road
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes don't mind the hard work and extra time, but they would like to start making it easier on themselves.
Another chance to do that comes Sunday when the struggling New Jersey Devils visit PNC Arena.
“At some point when we get playing at home, we have to take advantage of that,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said.
Both teams are coming off Saturday night road games with different results.
It turned out to be a late, yet successful night for the Hurricanes, who won in a shootout at Nashville.
The Devils are trying to salvage something from a three-game Southern road swing. They lost 4-3 in overtime at Florida before Saturday night's 4-1 setback at Tampa Bay.
The teams might benefit from the extra hour because of the time change.
New Jersey has yet to post a victory on the road.
“It's always better and easier when you start (playing better) from the beginning,” said Devils forward Pavel Zacha, pointing out one of the themes of slow starts to games involving New Jersey.
Devils coach John Hynes said some rallies have been encouraging, but it's not the best route to take and it's not something that can be relied on.
“It builds some confidence, it can do that,” Hynes said.
The Hurricanes are looking for ways to produce better beginnings of games as well, particularly after some miserable shifts in Nashville.
“We knew that was as bad as it was going to get,” defenseman Ron Hainsey said of a stretch in the first period.
That has led to issues with low scoring and even though it worked out against Nashville that won't always be the case.
“If you keep scoring one goal (it's not enough),” Hainsey said. “No matter how you do it, you're going to have to score two or three to win consistently.”
Peters said he intended to use both goalies this weekend, so that would mean going with Eddie Lack against the Devils.
But Peters also likes to stick with a hot goalie and Cam Ward was strong Saturday night.
“He gave us a chance to get our feet underneath us, especially early,” he said. “Obviously, 3-for-3 in the shootout, which is huge.”
Sunday's game marks the first time this season Carolina plays on back-to-back days.
“You have to show up every day no matter what happened the previous day and try to get better,” Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said. “It's a matter of fine tuning things and continuing to get better.”
If Devils defenseman Andy Greene plays Sunday, he will set the club record with his 322nd consecutive game.
For Carolina forward Lee Stempniak, it's the pursuit of a new milestone because he played in his 800th career NHL game Saturday night.
This will be only the third home game for the Hurricanes, who opened with a two-week road schedule because of the North Carolina State Fair that takes place near the arena.
This wraps up a three-game road trip for the Devils. The teams meet again Tuesday night in Newark, N.J.