For the Carolina Hurricanes, it’s time to hit the road once again.
The Canes will traverse the United States over the next nine days, playing five games in five cities, going as far West as California and back East to New York. The five-game road trip, a continuation of the Canes time away from home during the State Fair, begins in Colorado on Wednesday.
“It’s huge. It sets up your trip,” head coach Bill Peters said about the midweek tilt against the Avalanche. “I know guys are excited about playing a bunch of games in a short period of time.”
On a less granular level, this road trip is a chance for the Hurricanes, who have a 1-4-0 record, to find consistency in their game.
“We’ve liked our game when we’ve played well, but we’ve had some efforts we’re not fond of,” Peters said. “Now we can go out on the road with a real good schedule and see what we’re all about. Everyone’s going to have to find a way to contribute. It’s a five-game trip so we’re going to rely on everybody at some point.”
“We want to go out and establish how we’re going to play. You look at our games this year, and they’ve been a little inconsistent,” Jeff Skinner said. “We want to get to a place where we consistently bring the same effort and same game every night. Hopefully we can come together as a unit, get off to a good start in Denver and carry it throughout the road trip.”
There have been a couple periods here and there, but perhaps the most complete example of how the Canes can play was Friday night in Detroit, a 5-3 victory in which the team got on the scoreboard early and often and fended off a second-period push back from the Red Wings.
That’s the prototypical effort Peters wants to see out of his club night in and night out.
“It’s just a matter of trying to find out how to put that forward every night and consistently throughout the night,” Skinner said. “We’ve seen how we can play when we play well, and we know exactly what to do. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it.”
“There’s definitely been some inconsistency in our game. We’ve shown some flashes of really great hockey, and as a group, we know we can do it,” Jordan Staal said. “It’s just a matter of having the work ethic and the mind frame of going out there and doing it every night.”
Away from the ice, an extended road trip breeds team bonding opportunities, especially with a travel day slated for Sunday (San Jose to Detroit) and a day off in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“There’s going to be some opportunity there,” Peters said. “When we leave San Jose on Sunday and get to Detroit, I’m sure there will be some plans there. Should be a good Sunday Night Football game. I don’t know where we’re at in baseball right now, but you’ve still got real good October baseball going on. There will be a lot of things the guys can do together as a team.”
On the personnel front, forwards Riley Nash and Joakim Nordstrom will travel with the team, though both haven’t played in at least a week. Nash has returned to practice, first in no-contact fashion, but Nordstrom has yet to skate with the team. So, for now, the lineup will remain constant.
“We’re just going to go one game at a time, one day at a time with our lineup and goalies,” Peters said. “If a guy wins, I’d like to reward him with another start.”
Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen was recalled from Charlotte on Tuesday evening. He’ll join the team in Denver, giving the Canes a seventh defenseman – just in case.
“I like the way our D is set up right now. We’ll just leave all three pairs the way they are,” Peters said. “Everyone’s got their role within the team, and they’ve done a good job.”
Extended road trips in the latter half of October have become the norm for the Hurricanes, and it’s a chance for the team to set the tone heading into the second month of the regular season. This roadie is no different.
“It’s a big road trip for us,” Staal said. “We play some really good teams, and we’ve got to find a way to match-up and play solid against each one of them. It’s going to be a good and exciting challenge for our group, and it should be a lot of fun.”
The Canes will return to PNC Arena to close out October on Oct. 30, when they host the Colorado Avalanche. Then, after five games on the road, what will the team bring home?
“Hopefully five wins,” Skinner said with a smile.
is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.Email