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Preview: Hurricanes at Blackhawks

Canes wrap up road trip in Chicago

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

CHICAGO - The Carolina Hurricanes wrap up a weeklong, four-game road trip when they face off with the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

The Hurricanes have only managed a point thus far on the trip (0-2-1) with a chance to mark the win column before heading back home for a season-long, six-game homestand.

"We need to stick together. In tough times, that's what every team has to do," Justin Williams said after a 4-1 loss in St. Louis on Tuesday. "Stick together, work through it together because that's the only way we're going to get through it together."

Ending the Skid

Dating back to late October, the Hurricanes are winless in their last five games (0-4-1), and after beginning the season 4-0-1, the team is just 2-7-1 since.

A win - really, a string of wins - would help rebuild the team's confidence.

"The guys are giving us everything they can. That's all we can ask," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's the same story no matter what. You have to be prepared and give it your best."

PROJECTED LINEUP

A constant in this recent slide has been the Hurricanes' paltry offense, which has managed seven goals in five games, a 1.4 goals per game average. That's a stark contrast to the 4.4 goals per game the Canes averaged over their first five games of the season.

"Our game is solid, and we're playing pretty well overall. We're creating more than enough chances to win a hockey game. The fact that they're not going in right now, that's the frustrating part," Brind'Amour said. "It's a test for these guys and ourselves to stick with what we're doing and try to find a way to manufacture offense. Scoring goals is not easy. We've got to get dirty."

"At the end of the day, excuses are for losers," Williams said. "We're not going to use them, and I'm not searching for them."

Bishop, Di Giuseppe Re-Join the Squad

The Hurricanes on Wednesday swapped forwards with Charlotte, recalling Clark Bishop and Phil Di Giuseppe and reassigning Nicolas Roy.

Bishop made his NHL debut with the Canes on Oct. 20 against Colorado and played in two games before be reassigned to the AHL, where he has recorded five points (3g, 2a) in nine games with the Checkers this season.

Di Giuseppe has played two games with the Hurricanes and two games with the Checkers this season. He's tallied 37 points (13g, 24a) in 128 career games with the Canes.

Familiar Face

For the first time in his NHL career, goaltender Cam Ward will be on the opposite side of the ice (or opposite bench) in a game featuring the Hurricanes. Ward signed with the Blackhawks on July 1, leaving behind a number of Hurricanes goaltending franchise records, including games played (668), wins (318), shutouts (27), playoffs wins (23), playoff shutouts (4) and more.

Ward is 3-2-3 with a 3.93 goals-against average and a .887 save percentage in eight appearances with Chicago this season. There hasn't been any indication thus far whether Ward or Corey Crawford will get the nod in net.

The Opposition

The Blackhawks on Tuesday parted ways with Joel Quenneville, the second-winningest coach in franchise history, after starting the 2018-19 season with a 6-6-3 record and going 0-4-1 in their last five games. At just 33 years old, Jeremy Colliton becomes the youngest head coach in the NHL, and he'll make his debut behind the Blackhawks' bench tonight.


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Make Some Noise

The Hurricanes shuffled around the lines and defensive pairs and brought in a pair of fresh faces in an attempt to spark a little energy in the final game of this road trip. Energetic, physical play right from puck drop will set the tone for tonight's game.

2. Tally the First

The Canes have yet to score the first goal of the game in any of the three games on this road trip and, from there, have had to chase each game. That's when Brind'Amour says mistakes begin to creep in to the team's game. Avoid having to chase, and tally the first goal.

3. All In

The Hurricanes are going to need everyone to contribute in all areas of the ice and in all facets of the game. A complete team effort will result in a team win to cap this road trip.


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