The worst performance of the season for the Carolina Hurricanes means they’ll be looking for something much better Saturday afternoon when they host the Vancouver Canucks in Raleigh, N.C.
“The good news is we get to come back and get better,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said, calling the outing Saturday a chance “to kind of redeem ourselves.”
The Hurricanes were shutout victims for the first time this season with Thursday night’s 6-0 home loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That was the first game this season for Carolina without defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who was placed on the COVID protocol list earlier in the week.
The Hurricanes will be in just their sixth game in a four-week stretch when the Canucks arrive.
“We do have to get into a groove and start playing games,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said. “It has been a frustrating last month, I think. Our group will get into it and get some games under our belt and start playing Carolina Hurricane hockey.”
The Hurricanes haven’t been in a groove for a couple of weeks, regardless of the reason. Sometimes, they’ve won anyway, defenseman Tony DeAngelo said.
“We know what kind of team we are, and we have to start showing it,” he said.
Because of the latest outcome, Brind’Amour said the Hurricanes should be locked in leading up to the Vancouver game. They have lost consecutive games for the first time since a three-game skid Nov. 28-Dec. 2.
“I’ll have everybody’s attention,” Brind’Amour said. “Trust me, I don’t have to say too much.”
The Canucks have endured an even spottier schedule. After nine days off, they returned Tuesday to a 5-2 loss at Florida and to a 4-2 loss at Tampa Bay two nights later.
“I thought we were really good for most of the game,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Thursday night’s outing.
Vancouver is looking for a breakthrough. There wasn’t much good fortune in the Tampa Bay game.
“We have four power plays and we don’t get anything,” Boudreau said. “That’s my fault for putting the same guys out there all the time. That needs to get better.”
There was one total shot on goal during those power plays for the Canucks. Carolina, meantime, has killed off 30 consecutive opposing team’s power plays, dating to Dec. 7.
Carolina will go back to goalie Frederik Andersen, who was selected for the NHL All-Star Weekend. He was pulled after allowing four goals on 32 shots in the Columbus game.
Brind’Amour said he figured it was good to get him off the ice because of the number of scoring chances that were developing in front of him. Plus, with the afternoon faceoff Saturday, there’s a shortened turnaround time.
The change led to a rough NHL debut for Jack LaFontaine, who allowed two goals on three shots while playing the last 14:57.
Staal said he felt bad for the goalies because of the breakaway chances allowed.
“It’s not our style. It’s not our game,” he said. “We’re going to play better in front of them.”
This matchup holds certain significance in Raleigh because Vancouver’s new president of hockey operations and interim general manager is Jim Rutherford, the longtime president and GM of the Hurricanes.
He was on board when the franchise moved from Hartford to North Carolina in 1997 and put together the team that won the 2006 Stanley Cup.