In their last game before a nine-day layoff, the Carolina Hurricanes host the Winnipeg Jets in a cross-conference match-up.
The Canes are coming off a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Sunday, which snapped a three-game winless streak (0-2-1).
Empty the Tank
The Hurricanes play game 50 of 82 on Tuesday before a nine-day break that will include All-Star Weekend and the bye week.
The message heading into the game doesn't change, head coach Rod Brind'Amour said, but the team will empty the tank, both physically and mentally, before the chance to rest and recharge away from the rink.
"We've got a job to do tomorrow," Brind'Amour said after practice on Monday. "We've got to focus on that and put our best foot forward. That's kind of how we've approached every day."
The Canes will have 32 games remaining on the other side of the break, which will undoubtedly be a grind down the stretch of the season in the dogfight that is the Metropolitan Division.
"The good, for me, is the mental break. That's what guys need right now. Really, from day one of training camp, we've been pushing," Brind'Amour said. "Now, they can get away. Then, you come back and push again. The mental side is great. The downside is the physical side of getting away. You kind of get out of rhythm and sync a little bit. You run the risk of that. The good news is that everybody's in the same boat. It's not an advantage one way or the other."
Williams' Thrilling Return
Justin Williams played the first game of his 19th career season when the Hurricanes squared off with the Islanders on Sunday.
And, of course it ended with Williams being the difference-maker in the eighth round of the shootout. Could there have been a more perfect ending?
"Not really," Brind'Amour said after the game. "Only Willy can make that up."
Williams finished career game No. 1,245 with five shot attempts, three shots on goal, a hit and a blocked shot in 13:06 of ice time.
Video: NYI@CAR: Williams scores SO goal, leads Storm Surge
The 38-year-old was back on the ice with his team on Tuesday at practice.
"He didn't play that much," Brind'Amour smiled when asked if Williams was sore. "He should be all right."
Jordan Martinook was the healthy extra on Sunday. Based on line rushes in Monday's practice, that's not likely to be the case on Tuesday, as he centered Brock McGinn and Williams.
"I envision it being a rotation," Brind'Amour reiterated. "If everyone stays healthy - which we hope - it will be a different guy every night."
The Last Meeting
The Hurricanes and Jets met in Winnipeg a month ago, the fourth stop in the Canes' five-game trek through Canada and Colorado. Helped along by two goals each from Jordan Staal and Sebastian Aho, the Canes doubled up the Jets, 6-3. Andrei Svechnikov also scored his second lacrosse-style goal of the season.
"That's unbelievable," said Aho, who also added an assist in a three-point night (2g, 1a). "He's done it now twice what nobody ever could do even once. That's unreal. Really impressive."
Video: Aho, Staal boost Hurricanes past Jets
Raleigh marks the second stop on a three-game road trip for the Jets and their moms. Winnipeg fell, 5-2, in Chicago on Saturday, two nights after beating routed, 7-1, at home by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team sits at 25-20-4 with 54 points in 49 games, sitting outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Mark Sheifele leads the team in scoring with 53 points (23g, 30a) in 49 games.
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