Preview: Hurricanes at Senators
The Carolina Hurricanes continue pursuit of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference when they conclude a five-game road trip Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. Carolina saw its three-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 3-2 loss at New Jersey, missing out on a chance to pass Pittsburgh and move into the final playoff position.
"Every game is big,'' Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen, who is one point shy of 200, told reporters. "Right now, every game is the biggest game of the year, so we have to get ready for the next one. It's just a big game after a big game." The Senators will try to match a season high with their third straight victory after beginning the three-game homestand with a 4-0 win over Anaheim on Thursday and a 5-2 verdict over Central Division-leading Winnipeg on Saturday behind 44 saves by Anders Nilsson. "He's been good ever since he got here," Ottawa right wing Mark Stone told reporters about Nilsson. "I think he's given us a chance to win every game he's been in there. … '' Ottawa, which has a league-low 47 points, snapped a five-game losing streak in the series with a 4-1 victory at Carolina on Jan. 18 with Nilsson stopping 33 shots.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS Carolinas, TSN5, RDS (Ottawa)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (28-22-6): Sebastian Aho leads the team with 24 goals and 63 points after recording his 100th career assist Saturday, giving him 12 points (three goals) in his last nine games. Teravainen (15 goals) has 11 of his 49 points - five goals and six assists - in the last nine contests. Justin Williams (13 goals) is third on the club with 33 points and has five assists in six February games while Andrei Svechnikov owns three of his 14 goals in the last nine contests.
ABOUT THE SENATORS (21-29-5): Stone (team-high 56 points, plus-15 rating) and Matt Duchene (53 points, minus-1) lead the club with 25 goals apiece after combining for seven in the last three games with Duchene scoring in three straight and Stone two. Duchene, who played his 700th game Saturday, has 10 goals and five assists in 12 games since the calendar flipped to 2019. Nilsson (9-12-1, 2.70 goals-against average .916 save percentage this season) is 6-4-0, 2.21, .937 in 10 games since being acquired from Vancouver and will start Tuesday, according to coach Guy Boucher.
1. Carolina averages the most shots on goal in the league at 35.5 and yields the fewest (27.9) while Ottawa allows the most (36.6).
2. The Senators are 16-for-16 on the penalty kill over their last eight games.
3. The Hurricanes are the only team in the Eastern Conference that is above the NHL's version of .500 (14-13-2) on the road but not in playoff position.
PREDICTION: Senators 3, Hurricanes 2