Hurricanes hope to end strenuous road trip strong, visit Canucks

The Carolina Hurricanes are about to reach the conclusion of a brutal road trip and they’re looking for one last prize to take home.

This trek, which covers almost two weeks, winds down with Monday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

“This road trip from heck, just a bad road trip,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s way too much time on the road to play only this amount of games.”

The Hurricanes are 2-1-1 on the trip. More than two weeks will have elapsed between home games when they take the ice Friday night.

“It’s been a long trip,” Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “We’ve had good hockey. We’ve had bad hockey. We’ve got to keep grinding.”

But there’s still work to do against a Vancouver team that’s bound to be in a desperate mode. The Canucks are winless through six games (0-4-2), with the most lopsided of those coming in Saturday night’s 5-1 setback to the Buffalo Sabres in the home opener.

“Of course, it’s really frustrating,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You want to win the game. You want to play for 60 minutes.”

Boudreau has identified a shortcoming in effort level at times and that’s a disturbing development. He said he’s hoping pride kicks in.

“My job is to help us find a way out of this,” he said, understanding why fans have become restless. “If I was the fans, I would have been frustrated, too, because they’re watching what we’re watching. … (It’s time we’re) looking in the mirror and saying, ‘This just isn’t good enough.'”

Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson have combined for seven of the team’s 16 goals. Production has been limited from others, and there hasn’t been much to build momentum.

“They haven’t had success yet,” Boudreau said of his team. “Every morning when I get up, I think we’re going to win.”

Carolina has four players with multiple goals, though the Hurricanes fell 3-2 in overtime Saturday night at Calgary.

“It wasn’t our best game, but I thought we worked really hard,” Brind’Amour said.

Special teams have become an issue for the Hurricanes during the opening two weeks of the season. They surrendered a short-handed goal Saturday and have been spotty on power plays, particularly with creating only one decent scoring chance on a four-minute man advantage in the Calgary game.

“It wasn’t enough there,” Brind’Amour said. “It wasn’t a lack of urgency.”

Yet special teams is a topic worth addressing.

“We’ve got to be better on special teams,” Slavin said. “You’ve got to win those battles there to win hockey games.”

Under Brind’Amour, the Hurricanes are 34-10-8 against Pacific Division teams. They figure to have goalie Frederik Andersen back in the net after he sat out Saturday night.

Last autumn, the Hurricanes won their first nine games. Now, they’ve gone winless in their last two games after winning their first three.

“We have to focus on the next one and try to win that one,” Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho said.

–Field Level Media