Three games into the regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes aren’t where they want to be. That said, they aren’t far off, either.
At 0-2-1, the Canes will still be searching for their first win when the Boston Bruins come to town tomorrow. The question going into tomorrow night’s national television tilt seems to be if the Canes can finish strong – in all three games, the team has been in the game heading into the third period.
“We’ve got some things we can do better,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “But there were three good, battling games. I think the battle was there.”
In the home opener, the Canes were down 2-1 to the Bolts heading into the final frame before Tampa put three on the board to win 5-1. The next night in Washington, the Canes were again down 2-1, tied it at two, fell down 3-2 in the final five minutes and battled back to tie it in the last 1:30 before losing 4-3 in overtime. Yesterday in New Jersey, the Canes were tied 2-2 with the Devils going into the third period, a game Carolina ultimately dropped 4-2.
“We really like a lot of the things we are doing,” Maurice said. “That’s our challenge right now. It’s not a matter of staying positive; it’s staying together.”
“We just have to find a way to get some wins,” forward Jussi Jokinen
said. Jokinen scored the goal that put the Canes into overtime with the Capitals on Saturday.
“It’s a confidence thing more than anything else. You need to keep the confidence in what you’re doing because we don’t want to come off a lot of what we’re doing,” Maurice said. “You have to have some positive results, so it’s important. We’re at that stage where good isn’t quite good enough, and when you look at our schedule, that’s not going to change for quite some time.”
Boston comes to Raleigh tomorrow before Carolina travels to Buffalo on Friday and Boston on Tuesday. Currently, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Bruins are facing the same troubles as the Canes in not seeing the start they want; they’re 1-2, dropping games to Philadelphia and Colorado.
“They’re searching for that good feeling, too,” Maurice said. “1-2 is not where they want to be.”
And while Maurice’s team is winless, don’t expect to see much change going into tomorrow night. Maurice said a decision on who plays on the back-end will be made after reviewing video. The forward lines should largely remain the same, including the first line of Jeff Skinner
, Eric Staal
and Chad Larose
With Staal and Skinner both at -4, Maurice is hoping that LaRose can bring a defensive balance to an offensive-heavy line. Skinner and Staal are leading the way in points; the sophomore forward Skinner has 5 (1g, 4a) and the captain Staal has 3 (2g, 1a).
“We need to score more goals, and we need to keep more goals out of our net, and [the first line] can do both,” Maurice said.
Even though it is just three games into the season, the Canes would like to start seeing those positive results Maurice mentioned as soon as possible. After an off-ice workout for most of the team today, they should be well-prepared for tomorrow.
“I’m sure our crowd will be ready and we will be ready for sure, too,” Jokinen said. “I think we have to play that same game we played for a period and a half here against Tampa – get that two-man forecheck going, work hard, and find a way to get those 2, 3, or 4 goals we’re going to need to win.”
“We have a few players who can bring a little more, and we do need everybody going, Maurice said. “There’s a lot more good in our game right now than things we are really worried about.”