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Preview: Hurricanes at Golden Knights

Second half of back-to-back takes Canes to Vegas

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

LAS VEGAS - Less than 24 hours removed from earning a point in an overtime loss to the Coyotes in Arizona, the Carolina Hurricanes are back in action against the defending Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights.

The Hurricanes scored three straight goals, including two in a 40-second span late in the third period, to climb out of a first-period hole and force overtime on Friday night in Arizona, but Michael Grabner's game-winning tally in 3-on-3 overtime spoiled the comeback.

"It just shows the attitude in this room that we won't quit," Jordan Martinook said. "We fight until the very last second. One point is huge, but we wanted that second one."

Starting on Time

There are numerous takeaways from Friday's game in Arizona, but perhaps chief among them is the knowledge of starting on time and playing a full 60 minutes. The Canes unnecessarily and uncharacteristically fell behind 3-0 to the Coyotes in the first period.

"We've got to be ready to start the game," Martinook said. "We can't give ourselves that hole to dig out of."

"You can roll down some excuses of the long trip yesterday and getting our legs going was tough, but beyond that, we just weren't ready to go," said Jordan Staal's whose deflection tally evened the score in the third period. "To a man, everyone knew they had better."

Give this resilient bunch credit: They didn't pack it in after a disheartening first frame. Instead, they came out in the second period and established their pace of play.

"We decided to play," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We had a little wake-up call in between periods. We got to our game."

"We started skating again and playing the way we wanted to play," Staal said. "The boys dug in and found a way to get a point, to battle back and show some character in the way we want to play."

New-Look Lines

Brind'Amour and his coaching staff juggled the lines heading into the second period of Friday's game, and it paid dividends. The Canes established their game and began dictating play before finally denting the scoreboard just past the midway point of the game.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Among the changes: Brock McGInn rejoined Staal and Justin Williams, a trio that was utilized effectively a season ago, and Andrei Svechnikov slotted in on the right wing alongside Micheal Ferland and Sebastian Aho.

"It was time to shake it up," Brind'Amour said. "I give the guys credit for at least answering the bell after being knocked down."

Expect the Hurricanes to stick with these new combinations or experiment further heading into Saturday's match-up against the Golden Knights.

A New Streak for Aho

Aho saw his season-opening 12-game point streak (a franchise best) and 12-game assist streak (a franchise best and tying a season-opening league best) come to an end on Friday night in Arizona, but it wasn't for a lack of creating scoring opportunities. Aho had a rebound whack in the third period that was thwarted by Antti Raanta's outstretched left pad, and his 2-on-1 dish to Staal was denied by Raanta's right leg.

Time to begin a new point streak.

The Opposition

After stunning the NHL with an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, the Golden Knights have begun their sophomore campaign with a 5-7-1 record and are 1-3-1 in their last five games. Despite their sub-.500 record, though, they are 3-2-1 at home. Jonathan Marchessault leads the team in scoring at a point-per-game pace with six goals and seven assists in 13 games.


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Double Down

The Hurricanes need their special teams to be special tonight. Last night, the power play couldn't convert and surrendered a shorthanded goal, and the penalty kill gave up a goal in the first. Double down and get contributions from both.

2. Lucky Number 3(3)

Scott Darling gets the start in net tonight, his second appearance in the crease after missing the first month of the season with a lower-body injury. He'll look to build on his first start and help his team to victory.

3. Bet on Red

The Canes scored a big shootout victory in Vegas last season on the second half of a back-to-back. Will they have the same luck tonight? A W would go a long way.


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