Hurricanes bring moms, winning streaks to New Jersey (Feb 14, 2018)
The Carolina Hurricanes not only bring a three-game winning streak to the Prudential Center for Thursday's Metropolitan Division clash with the New Jersey Devils, but they also have the support of their mothers, who made the trip from Raleigh as part of a team moms' trip.
So, what does Hurricanes coach Bill Peters expect from his team on Thursday?
"You're gonna' play hard," Peters told reporters. "This is the person who brought you into the world, so you're gonna' play hard for them."
Not that the Hurricanes (27-21-9) -- nor the Devils (28-20-8) for that matter -- need any extra incentive. One point separates these two teams in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thursday marks the first meeting this season between the Hurricanes and Devils, who meet in a rematch in North Carolina on Sunday and play four times between now and March 27.
"These divisional games, they are all crucial games," said Devils coach John Hynes.
The Hurricanes come off a 7-3 thrashing of the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night. Defenseman Justin Faulk, who had not scored since Jan. 9 and had only four goals all season, recorded a hat trick, while Jeff Skinner had a pair of goals and Sebastian Aho had a goal and two assists.
It was Carolina's most explosive offensive game of the season.
"We've been working hard, and with that we've been able to create a lot of turnovers so teams are not coming out clean through the neutral zone. That's translated into a lot of offense for us recently," explained Faulk in a postgame television interview Tuesday.
During their three-game win streak, the Hurricanes outscored the opposition, 14-5. They are 6-2-1 in their last nine games and 16-10-2 since Dec. 12. This is their fourth winning streak of at least three games in that span.
"Things look good right now," Hurricanes center Victor Rask told the team's website. "Things are tight, but if we keep winning games, getting a lot of points, we'll be in good shape."
Things have not gone as smoothly for the Devils. After a surprisingly strong start to the season, they slumped the past month. However, the Devils snapped a four-game losing streak in dramatic fashion in their most recent contest Tuesday in Philadelphia against the Flyers.
New Jersey trailed 3-1 and 4-2, but rallied for two goals with less than four minutes to play in regulation to force overtime. Drew Stafford eventually provided the Devils with the extra point in the standings by netting the game-deciding goal in the shootout for a 5-4 Devils victory.
Taylor Hall again inspired his team. The Devils leading scorer extended his personal point-scoring streak to 15 games by recording a pair of goals, including the tying tally at 18:39 of the third period. That goal came after he was cleared during concussion protocol when drilled hard by Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas while scoring his first goal in the opening period.
"You mean, Hall-star?" Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid said when asked about Hall's heroics. "He's been tremendous for us. He's always flying out there. He always wants the puck. He's always in the right spot. And what is he on a 15-game point streak now? It's tough to contain him and he's a big part of our team."
Hall has 11 goals and 23 points during his scoring streak. On the season, he leads the team with 23 goals and 59 points.
"That's how we want to play, we want to play until the very end," Hall said of Tuesday's victory. "Things haven't really been going our way. We haven't gotten the bounces we really wanted to, so you have to fight through that in times during your season."