Rangers seek first win; Hurricanes look for first home victory
RALEIGH, N.C. — If there has been a good thing about the ebbs and flows through the first two games of the season for the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s that they’ve been able to work through the down stretches.
“We’re making a lot of mistakes, but we’re working hard enough to make up for it,” first-year coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
The Hurricanes go for their first home victory when the New York Rangers visit for Sunday’s game at PNC Arena.
“I think we’re dictating the pace of play,” Brind’Amour said. “I think that’s what we want to do.”
The Hurricanes (1-0-1) have been strong at times through two games, though the opener became a 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders.
The Rangers (0-2-0) are still searching for their first victory after a 3-1 loss Saturday night at Buffalo.
For Carolina, the style has been pleasing to Brind’Amour.
“If we just keep that mindset and how we want to approach the game, we’ll take it,” Brind’Amour said.
The Hurricanes haven’t done much on power plays, but the Rangers gave up two power-play goals in their loss to the Sabres.
The Rangers didn’t have much to show for 44 shots on goal in Buffalo, but they’ll have a chance to improve on that when they’re back on the ice less than 24 hours after that outing.
“I don’t want our hunger determined by the other team’s hunger,” Rangers coach David Quinn said.
With the set of back-to-back games, Quinn said he would split the goaltending duties this weekend. That means Alexandar Georgiev is slated to face the Hurricanes after Henrik Lundqvist got the call for Saturday night in Buffalo.
The Rangers are looking for consistent production from forward Jimmy Vessey, who had a strong opening night.
“I just felt really confident,” Vessey said. “I think for me taking that confidence going forward is going to be huge.”
The Hurricanes are without expected No. 1 goalie Scott Darling for a couple of weeks at the start of the season because of an injury. But the goaltending hasn’t been an issue in the small early sample size.
“Our goaltending has been fabulous,” Brind’Amour said.
Part of that is the addition of Curtis McElhinney, who joined the team off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs just a few days before the start of the season.
It has been a challenging time for the veteran goaltender, who posted the victory Friday night in Columbus.
“I’m always grateful for an opportunity to play any time in the league,” he said. “It was nice to come out here and make a good first impression. … It has been a tough week. It has been hard for me. You step on the ice and everything seems to be normal again.”
The Hurricanes scored their only goal in the opener in the final two minutes. Then in the next game, they notched a goal less than two minutes into the game.
Carolina rookie forward Andrei Svechnikov has been active in the preseason and the first two games. He picked up his first NHL point Friday night with an assist in Columbus, becoming the third youngest player in franchise history with a point.
“He’s up there in the NHL and he doesn’t look out of place,” Brind’Amour said.