Preview: Hurricanes at Senators
The Carolina Hurricanes opened the season with five consecutive victories but have come back to earth, sandwiching a pair of three-game skids around a three-game winning streak. With four of their next five on the road, the Hurricanes look to avoid a season-high fourth straight defeat at the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night in the front end of a home-and-home.
Carolina has been outscored 13-6 during its three-game slide but coach Rod Brind’Amour had no complaints after his team poured 47 shots on goal in Thursday's 4-2 home loss to the New York Rangers. “We’ve just got to play, right now, almost a perfect game, it feels like,” Brind’Amour said. “I’m pretty sure if we play like that we will win a lot more games.” The Senators won only once in their first eight games (1-6-1) but have alternated wins and losses over the past seven and have a chance to post back-to-back victories for the first time this season. “We’re starting to build something here," center Jean-Gabriel Pageau said after Thursday's 3-2 overtime win over Los Angeles. "Two wins in our last three games and we played a pretty solid game overall."
TV: 7 p.m. ET; FS Carolina, Sportsnet One, TVAS2
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (9-6-1): Defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored a career-high 18 goals in his first season with Carolina in 2018-19 and is on pace to surpass that, scoring in Thursday's loss to give him seven on the season and boost his team-leading point total to 17. Sebastian Aho, who topped the team in scoring last season when he recorded career highs across the board with 30 goals, 53 assists and 83 points, has notched five of his six goals over his last 10 games. Erik Haula, the team leader with eight goals, has missed the past two with a knee injury.
ABOUT THE SENATORS (5-9-1): Forward Artem Anisimov, who missed eight of nine games due before rejoining the lineup Tuesday, scored before he aggravated a groin injury Thursday and is expected to be out long-term. Anthony Duclair scored for the fifth time in the last seven games to give him six goals on the season and 14 in 36 games since he was acquired from Columbus. "I'm definitely confident like last year when I came in," Duclair said. "I just want to continue that. Getting the support from the coaching staff and (my) teammates here has been unbelievable."
1. Senators G Anders Nilsson takes a 2-4-1 record and 3.02 goals-against average versus Carolina into Saturday's start.
2. Hurricanes G Petr Mrazek is 6-1-2 with a 2.49 GAA versus Ottawa.
3. Pageau has scored four times during a three-game streak to give him a team-high seven goals.
PREDICTION: Hurricanes 3, Senators 2