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Preview: Hurricanes at Blues

Canes continue search for first win on road trip

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

ST. LOUIS - The Carolina Hurricanes continue their four-game road trip on Tuesday night when they face off with the St. Louis Blues.

The Canes are still searching for their first win on this trap after dropping a 4-3 decision in overtime in Arizona and getting blanked 3-0 in Vegas.

"They needed to work hard, and they did," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said of his team's practice in Vegas on Monday. "There's certainly no reason to hang your head. No one cares about that, and that's not going to help us. Coming off a day, and I'm sure they had some fun, it was good that they came with their work hats on."

Looking to Rebound

The Hurricanes will be looking to bounce back after being shut out for the first time this season, 3-0, by the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.

"We simply just weren't quite all there tonight. We don't have the luxury of having a 50-60 goal scorer who can take the game over. We have to do it all by committee," Justin Williams said after the game. "We weren't all clicking tonight, and as a result, goose egg."

"Tonight was probably … the game I didn't like the most of all of them," Brind'Amour said "Even saying that, it was a grind game. There wasn't a lot going on for either team, but we've got to try to find ways to put the puck in the net. That's been the challenge here."

PROJECTED LINEUP

After beginning the season 4-0-1, the Hurricanes have slipped to 2-6-1 in their last nine games.

"Teams are tightening up and playing harder, better and smarter," Justin Faulk said. "You've got to bring it every night. Every team is looking to get better and improve on their game. We need to, too."

Mrazek Day-to-Day

The Hurricanes still have three goaltenders on their roster, and the team might be turning back to Curtis McElhinney in net soon. Petr Mrazek suffered a lower-body injury in Arizona on Friday and is day-to-day. He was scratched on Saturday and did not practice Monday.

"I just talked to him, and he said he's feeling better," Brind'Amour said. "I know Petr is not ready to play, but the other two guys are."

The Opposition

After losing 5-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, the Blues dropped to 2-2 on their season-long, seven-game homestand. The team sits at 4-5-3 (11 points) through the first 12 games of the season, and Ryan O'Reilly is riding a seven-game point streak.

"Regardless of who we play, if we get to our game, we'll be fine and in good shape," Brind'Amour said. "They're going to be desperate, too. They're in the same boat we are, coming off a tough one. They've got some high-end players. I don't think they're too happy with the start to their year, so we're going to have a grind, I'm sure."


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Return of the Mac

Curtis McElhinney is making his first start in net since Oct. 20. He's 3-1-0 with the Hurricanes this season after being picked up on waivers in the first week of October.

2. Set a Physical Tone

The Hurricanes rank fifth in the league in hits, while St. Louis ranks 24th. Setting an early, physical tone will help the Canes find their game on the road.

3. Build a Game

After starting this road trip 0-1-1, the Hurricanes need to get back in the win column, and they'll need to build a game in order to do so. The first goal in this contest will go a long way.


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