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Preview: Hurricanes at Ducks

Canes end road trip in Anaheim

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

ANAHEIM - It's almost time for the Carolina Hurricanes to check out of Hotel California.

The Canes will wrap up their three-game road trip in Anaheim with their second match-up against the Ducks in a week's time.

Getting Back on Track

The Hurricanes are winless in three straight games (0-2-1) and are just 1-3-1 in their last five. Most concerning in this recent stretch is the team's lack of offense. The Canes have scored just five goals in their last five games and two in their last three in the absence of leading goal scorer Micheal Ferland.

"You always want more seconds and thirds. … You always talk about getting more traffic. That's, generally, what every team will say when you're not scoring," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after practice on Thursday. "The puck has to go in, and you have to try to get some ugly ones."

PROJECTED LINEUP

Finish is the current missing ingredient. The Canes are generating shots and chances, both in terms of quantity and quality, but goals continue to be a challenge.

"At the end of the day, guys have to go out and do their jobs," Brind'Amour said. "Compete and try to be better than the guy you're lined up against."

Playing Shorthanded

Already missing Ferland, the Canes will be without another top forward in Friday's game. Jordan Staal was diagnosed with a concussion after departing Wednesday's game midway through the third period.

"We'll revaluate when we get home," Brind'Amour said.

In Staal's absence, Sebastian Aho is likely to slide back into the middle. The Canes also recalled forward Saku Maenalanen, who will be the fourth player to make his NHL debut for the team this season. The 24-year-old Finnish forward, who the Canes signed as a free agent in May, has recorded 11 points (4g, 7a) with the Charlotte Checkers this season.

"We're obviously missing a couple key forwards. It's going to be tough. We know that. It's always tough. We need everyone to contribute in some way or fashion," Brind'Amour said. "I know one thing: If we do start going off on our own little way, we have no chance of success. We have to stay positive. If the chances are there, you should feel good about your game."

The Last Meeting

You don't have to flip back too far on the calendar to find the last time these two teams met because it was just a week ago in Raleigh. Andrei Svechnikov tallied during 4-on-4 play in the first period, but a lucky bounce for the Ducks late in regulation tied the game at one apiece. Ryan Getzlaf then ended the game in 3-on-3 overtime, as he broke free from the Canes' defense and buried his seventh goal of the season.

The Opposition

The Ducks are riding a five-game winning streak that began with back-to-back victories in Florida. They wrapped up their five-game road swing out east with a dramatic 6-5 win in Washington, where they scored five unanswered goals to erase a four-goal deficit. They then returned home and defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, on Wednesday. Newcomer Daniel Sprong scored his first goal as a Duck in that victory.


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Step Up

With both Jordan Staal and Micheal Ferland out of the lineup, the Hurricanes are going to need someone to step up and lead the charge.

2. In and Out

It's simple. Get pucks deep in the offensive zone, and get pucks out of the defensive zone. Be hungry.

3. Follow the Leader

The Canes have yet to play with a lead on this road trip. Doing so would put the team in a position not to chase the game and give them some confidence.


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