The Carolina Hurricanes have taken turning defense into offense to a different level as their defensemen have become some of their best offensive sources recently.
They might need to keep that going when the Vancouver Canucks visit Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday.
The Hurricanes have won two games in a row since a four-game skid. That included Saturday night’s 2-1 squeaker at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We knew it was going to turn around sooner than later, and now you’re seeing us start to win again,” Carolina defenseman Jalen Chatfield said.
In the two-game win streak, seven of Carolina’s eight goals have been scored by defensemen.
“Any chance to score a goal in this league (is big),” Chatfield said.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said it’s not surprising that Chatfield has chipped in offensively.
“He gets a chance every night,” Brind’Amour said. “He’s in the rush. He has got a good shot. You can see, he has been confident all year.”
Chatfield has a goal in each of the past two games, both counting as the game-winning tallies for the first two of that variety in his career.
Defenseman Brady Skjei posted his ninth goal Saturday night, matching his career high set last season, when he played in all 82 regular-season games.
Also, defenseman Brett Pesce has 10 points across the past 10 games.
The win gave the Hurricanes a 4-0 season sweep of the Penguins.
As for Vancouver, the Canucks dropped a 4-3 decision Saturday night at Florida.
“I don’t think anybody likes losing,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The only thing you can do is get up tomorrow and go back to work.”
Vancouver is 0-4-0 as a five-game trip concludes at Carolina. The Canucks have allowed a total of 21 goals in those four games, while they scored four goals in each of the first three games on the trip.
So offense hasn’t been the problem for the Canucks.
“The last three games, for sure, it’s too little too late, but we didn’t quit,” Boudreau said. “We keep going. That tells me the team still wants to win every time we go on the ice.”
Vancouver’s Tyler Myers scored his first goal of the season at Florida.
It could be tough going against the Hurricanes, who’ve successfully killed off 12 of 13 power plays in the past three games.
The Hurricanes probably will be without forward Max Pacioretty again. He exited Thursday’s game at Columbus with a lower-body injury and didn’t play Saturday, with Brind’Amour saying it’s doubtful he’ll play Sunday.
While it seems unlikely that goalie Frederik Andersen would be in the Carolina net after playing in two of the past three nights following a two-month absence with a lower-body injury, the rest of the Hurricanes’ lineup could look familiar to Saturday night.
“I don’t envision too much changing,” Brind’Amour said.
Carolina won 3-2 on Oct. 24 at Vancouver to conclude a five-game trip. Now it’s a reverse situation with the Canucks finishing a similar trip.
–Field Level Media