It’s been adventurous at times, but the Canes are back in Raleigh from their six-game road trip sporting a healthy 5-2-2 record after the first month of the season.
The trend of inconsistent efforts persisted last week against Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders, but the Canes feel like they’ve turned a corner in that department with a pair of good showings in their last two games - a shootout loss to Montreal and last night’s 1-0 victory over St. Louis.
“Especially in Montreal
I think we played a solid 60 minutes for the first time, even though we came up short but still got a point,” said Tim Gleason
. “Overall we played an excellent game from the goal on out, and that continued last night. Chances against were down and chances for were up, and that’s what we’re looking for every single night.”
“I thought it was a real good effort to come home on,” said coach Peter Laviolette of last night’s game. “There’s some things that have been good, some things that could be better, and we’re looking forward to being at home with a winning record.”
The road-weary Canes (only two of their nine games have been at home), will now enjoy a November schedule that features 11 games at the RBC Center, starting this weekend with a game against Edmonton on Saturday and then the first of a home-and-home series with Toronto on Sunday.
Even though he’s glad to be back, Laviolette said that doesn’t necessarily make their schedule much easier.
“We’re in the middle of seven games in 11 nights – that’s a lot of hockey,” he said. “There is no time [to sit back]. We’re home, but it’s not like we’re home and can get some rest. We’re home working with two games in two and a half days, and then we’re back on the road.”
Even though spirits in Friday’s practice were high, the players don’t feel completely comfortable yet either.
”Every night the game is on the line, and that’s why it’s so competitive and every game is so important,” said Gleason. “Tomorrow is a big opportunity to be at home and get the crowd back behind us.”
Laviolette said he wished he could have given the player today off, but tomorrow's 3 p.m. start made put a pregame skate out of the question. Scott Walker, who has been skating on his own while recovering from a hand injury, took the ice with the rest of the team today in a non-contact jersey. Laviolette said he thinks Walker is still about two weeks away from being game-ready.