The Carolina Hurricanes defeated a couple of playoff-caliber Eastern Conference teams this week.
Now they try to keep it going against a struggling team.
Carolina faces the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at Newark, N.J.
The Hurricanes outscored the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers by a combined score of 13-4.
“These last couple of games for sure we’ve been on our game right away and it has paid off,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You get off to these starts, it certainly makes your life a lot easier.”
The Hurricanes have 17 goals in their last three games, matching their best three-game stretch in terms of offense this season. The last two games have been particularly impressive.
“Both games we had good starts and definitely were ready to play,” center Sebastian Aho said. “We got the leads both games and try to build on that.”
The Hurricanes might have to do that Saturday without left winger Teuvo Teravainen, who didn’t play in the third period Friday night against the Rangers because of a lower-body injury.
Carolina’s Tony DeAngelo has back-to-back three-point games, giving him 31 points through 30 games. The only defenseman in franchise history to hit the 30-point mark faster in a season was Mark Howe for the 1980-81 Hartford Whalers.
Brind’Amour will face a key decision prior to the Saturday game. He was noncommittal if goalie Frederik Andersen would be used for the second night in a row or if Jack LaFontaine might receive his first NHL start or if Antti Raanta would be ready to return from an upper-body injury that has sidelined him since Jan. 1.
“We’ve got a lot of options now,” Brind’Amour said.
The Devils are on a three-game losing streak, but they have played only once in an eight-day stretch. They took a 4-1 home defeat to the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday.
The Hurricanes haven’t exactly been busy this month, but this will be their fourth outing across an eight-day period.
The Devils have had time to work on things, and seeking better outcomes in the offensive zone is among the priorities. They haven’t scored more than three goals in regulation in any of their six games this month.
“The number of chances we’ve been getting that result in goals hasn’t been high enough,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve got to be able to put three or four in the back of the net.”
Part of the process for the Devils has to be making in-game adjustments, according to Ruff. He would like to see that from an individual and team aspect.
Going against the Hurricanes for the first time this season pits the Devils against one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams.
“We look at every game as a game that’s a chance to measure where we’re at,” Ruff said. “They’ve had a heckuva a year. They’ve been a good team now for a few years. … A lot of offense coming from their back end. They cause a lot of trouble for a lot of teams once they get inside the offensive zone. We’re really going to have to be good defensively.”
New Jersey defenseman Ty Smith could be out with an upper-body injury, Ruff said.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who left the Hurricanes via free agency to sign with the Devils during the offseason, is on injured reserve with a broken jaw, so he won’t be able to face his former team.
The Saturday game begins a busy stretch for New Jersey, with five games slated across an eight-day span, ending Jan. 29 at Carolina.
–Field Level Media