The Carolina Hurricanes have worked extra across the past week to gain favorable results.
The Buffalo Sabres have done good work as well, perhaps even in an unexpected manner.
Both teams hold three-game winning streaks going into their Friday night matchup in Raleigh, N.C.
The Hurricanes have played beyond regulation for three consecutive games and prevailed each time. Those outcomes include a 4-3 shootout decision over the host Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
“We’re sticking to it all the way through the end,” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said. “You hopefully end it earlier, but there are some good teams out there. There are some tight games.”
The Sabres are on the rise after finishing the four-game homestand strong. This next venture will be different on many levels, including having mothers joining the team for the trip that also includes a Saturday night game at Tampa Bay.
Coach Don Granato said the Sabres must prove they can handle road endeavors.
“It’s different when you’re on the road because you have greater swings of momentum,” he said. “The task presents a great opportunity for us to find out about ourselves and find out where we need to improve next.”
Carolina is putting up shots at rapid rates at times, including 55 against the Lightning.
Hurricanes center Seth Jarvis notched his first goal in seven games with a tally at Tampa Bay, his third of the season. He said he hopes that sparks him to more production.
“Everyone yells at me in the dressing room to shoot the puck more,” said Jarvis, a second-year player.
With goalie Frederik Andersen working in net Thursday for the Hurricanes, it likely will be Antti Raanta’s turn for the Buffalo game.
The Sabres feel good about their successes, but the team is evolving, just like their opponents.
“It’s early-season NHL hockey,” Granato said of working on timing. “The one part that is very consistent is it takes a range of five to 15 games for a player (to get that rhythm). For a team, it could take 20 games before they get to that rhythm and sync as a unit.”
Granato said the Hurricanes have reasonable aspirations to win a Stanley Cup this season. The Sabres might not be at that level, but they hope to compete on a more regular basis against some of the top teams.
“To know your team has confidence that they can find a way to win is a nice feeling,” Granato said. “It doesn’t say that you get it done every time.”
Defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin could be back in the Buffalo lineup after returning to practice Thursday. He has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury that he played through for a few games before sitting out.
“Now that he’s on the ice and went full go, I’ll have a conversation with him and see how it goes,” Granato said.
The game marks another return to Raleigh for center Jeff Skinner, who won the Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year) for the Hurricanes in 2010-11. Skinner, in his fifth season with the Sabres, has two goals and shares the team lead with eight assists.
–Field Level Media