Preview: Hurricanes at Senators
The Carolina Hurricanes need a big surge to climb back into playoff contention and may be building one as they go for a season high-matching fourth straight win Sunday afternoon against the host Ottawa Senators. The Hurricanes swept a home-and-home set with Philadelphia before taking a three-goal lead and holding on for a 4-2 victory over Columbus on Friday.
“We’re running out of time to wait for that run,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour told reporters. “Every team that’s up there we’re chasing has done it at some point. If we want to get up there we’ve got to do it. If you get two, you’ve got to get three. Get three, you’ve got to get four.” Brind’Amour said he liked his team’s performance Friday and the Hurricanes have a chance to extend their winning streak in the series to five games against struggling Ottawa, which has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). The Senators coughed up a pair of leads and dropped a 4-3 decision against Minnesota at home on Saturday afternoon and have not won since Dec. 17 when they edged Nashville 4-3 in overtime. Right wing Mark Stone scored for the fourth time in five games Saturday to reach 20 goals for the fifth straight season and leads Ottawa with 46 points -- 22 in the last 19 contests.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Carolina), RDS2, TSN5 (Ottawa)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (18-17-5): Leading scorer Sebastian Aho (43 points) has warmed up with a goal and three assists in the last two games while fellow forward Micheal Ferland snapped an 11-game goal drought Friday. Curtis McElhinney (three goals allowed his last two games) and Petr Mrazek (3-2-0, 11 goals allowed his last five) have been giving Carolina some solid goaltending of late. Veteran center Jordan Staal (upper body), who has been out since Dec. 22, was placed on injured reserve Friday and forward Greg McKegg registered a goal to go along with an assist after being recalled on Friday.
ABOUT THE SENATORS (15-22-5): Center Matt Duchene scored Saturday and is second on the team in both goals (17) and points (41) while left wing Ryan Dzingel recorded three tallies and two assists in his past three contests. Goalie Anders Nilsson, who was acquired from Vancouver recently, made his Ottawa debut Saturday by turning aside 22 of 26 shots, but rookie Marcus Hogberg (0-2-1, .895 save percentage) is expected to start Sunday. Forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who averaged 15 goals the last three seasons, is slated to make his 2018-19 debut Sunday after suffering an Achilles injury at training camp.
1. Ottawa F Rudolfs Balcers, who was acquired in the Erik Karlsson trade, had one hit in 7:45 of ice time in his NHL debut Saturday.
2. Carolina D Dougie Hamilton has scored in back-to-back games and leads the team with 133 shots.
3. The Hurricanes lead the NHL in shots per game (36.8) and the Senators allow more than anyone in the league (37.3).
PREDICTION: Hurricanes 6, Senators 3