Hurricanes host Ducks to kick off homestand
RALEIGH, N.C. — This is the ideal time for the Carolina Hurricanes to make up some ground.
They sure need that as they begin a five-game homestand with Thursday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks at PNC Arena.
Carolina coach Bill Peters said the schedule sets up well, particularly with some breaks between games.
"There’s a lot of things to build on," Peters said. "There’s a lot of things to dig in on."
The Hurricanes are 1-2-2 across their last five games, so they’ve been competitive if not producing many recent victories.
With the string of home games, Peters said it will be important to keep the team fresh, particularly after Saturday night’s game is the fifth game in eight nights.
"Energy level is huge, especially as young as we are," Peters said. "Some of these guys (are) going through this for the first time."
The Hurricanes (3-5-4) have played some extra hockey, with three of their past four games going beyond regulation.
Anaheim (6-5-3), which lost in overtime Wednesday night at Columbus, is trying to successfully negotiate a road trip. The Columbus game marked the start of a three-game road swing.
"Back to backs are always tough," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Here we go, life on the road in the NHL."
Wednesday night included the season debut for Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who played more than 181/2 minutes at Columbus after an absence related to contract and visa issues. Lindholm was minus-1 in plus/minus rating, while also spend some time on power-play units.
"The whole idea is we’ve got to get him up to game speed as quickly as possible," Carlyle said prior to the game.
The Ducks trailed 2-0 before responding and earning the team point.
Anaheim, which is 2-0-1 in its last three games, also could be in line for a lineup change after recalling center Michael Sgarbossa from San Diego of the American Hockey League. He didn’t play at Columbus, but he’s on board for the trip.
The Hurricanes have altered some line combinations and they haven’t ruled out some roster moves in mid-November.
"We want to get a look at some players," Peters said.
There could be changes out of necessity. Defenseman Justin Faulk missed Tuesday night’s game with an undisclosed upper-body injury and his status might not be updated until early next week, Peters said.
Plus, left winger Bryan Bickell missed Wednesday’s Carolina practice.
If there are significant lineup changes, it potentially puts a ding in Peters’ quest to see more even performances across four lines. He said he wants the third and fourth lines to supply more in terms of offense.
"They have to do more than just check," he said. "They have to generate offense."
The Hurricanes rank fourth in the NHL with 105 takeaways. The Ducks had only one giveaway Wednesday night at Columbus.
Anaheim and Carolina will have a rematch next month on the West Coast.