Although the Carolina Hurricanes have lost four of their last six games, their coach has seen enough positive developments to put the team on a solid path going into Saturday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild at Saint Paul, Minn.
Rod Brind’Amour does admit that some fine-tuning is needed around the net on the offensive end.
“We’ve got to get better in that area,” Brind’Amour said. “With the guys we have, I know it’s going to turn around. It didn’t go our way (Thursday night vs. Colorado), but it wasn’t the lack of effort.”
The Hurricanes put up a 48-15 advantage in shots on the Avalanche despite falling 3-2 in overtime.
The key for Carolina seems to be getting to the three-goal mark. Other than in their first loss of the season, they’ve failed to score more than two goals in any of their other six defeats.
“We haven’t scored in tight games like this,” center Sebastian Aho said. “The execution part is not quite there.”
Brind’Amour said the rewards will come if the Hurricanes stick with it.
“That’s the way you have to play,” he said. “We’ve got to connect. That’s the difference in some of the games we haven’t won.”
The Hurricanes are bound to want to test whomever the Wild put in goal. Top goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was placed on the injured list Wednesday.
Zane McIntyre was the backup Thursday after he was called up from AHL affiliate Iowa. He hasn’t appeared in an NHL game since the 2016-17 season with Boston, and even then he only appeared in eight games with three starts.
Minnesota has lost its last three games (0-2-1), including a 6-4 home setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
“You have to get mad and get after it again,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Frustration is not going to help us. Being angry and hungry, that will help us.”
With Carolina set to arrive in the Twin Cities, the Hurricanes should have the Wild’s attention.
“We’ve got one of the best teams in the league coming in,” Evason said. “It’s great (because) we’ve got to step up and get the job done. We’ll try to get the positive mindset.”
Despite a stable lineup and established players in many spots, the Wild have been inconsistent.
“I think every team goes through those types of things,” Evason said. “It is uncharacteristic that we’re not doing the same things every night.”
That most recent game aside, the Wild’s biggest shortcomings have come in the scoring department. In the six previous games, Minnesota managed to score a total of eight goals.
There is concern for the Hurricanes on special teams. They are 10-for-66 on power plays.
“Special teams are kind of killing us at this time,” center Martin Necas said. “That’s the kind of thing we were good at last season. We’ve just got to figure out somehow.”
Brind’Amour said the Hurricanes need more zone time on power plays by eliminating some careless moments that cost them time.
There also was a learning moment in a 5-on-5 situation for Necas, who had a defensive lapse that led to Colorado’s second goal Thursday night. Brind’Amour said Necas realized his snafu.
“We’ve got to keep grinding,” Evason said. “We have to keep plugging.”
–Field Level Media