Wed, 19 Jan 2022

Hurricanes look to regain rhythm against Blue Jackets

Field Level Media
13 Jan 2022, 07:19 GMT+10

The Carolina Hurricanes haven't played this week and yet there have been numerous issues for discussion.

They hope to be back on the ice to take on the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.

The teams have been dealing with different kinds of issues.

The Hurricanes traveled to Philadelphia for a scheduled game Tuesday night. The game was postponed on Monday night, however. The Flyers ended up holding a practice Tuesday as Carolina returned home.

"It doesn't always work out," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "... It's interesting times, but we're getting through it."

This seemed particularly odd for the Hurricanes, who played a game with 16 skaters prior to the Christmas break.

Meanwhile, Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin entered the COVID protocol. Plus, the Hurricanes signed Jack LaFontaine from the University of Minnesota, so that created a buzz with fellow goaltender Antti Raanta out with an injury.

LaFontaine won the 2021 Mike Richter Award, given annually to the top goaltender in NCAA Division I. He's under an entry-level contract with the Hurricanes. LaFontaine doesn't figure to be in the net for the Columbus game unless there's another unforeseen development.

The Blue Jackets mostly have been consumed with what has taken place in actual games. Those results have fluctuated.

"You want to stay with it and attack the game," Columbus coach Brad Larsen said.

The Hurricanes have had seven games postponed dating back to Dec. 14.

The Blue Jackets played Tuesday night, falling 4-2 at home to the Chicago Blackhawks. A game slated for Monday at Montreal was postponed.

"Our legs, our energy, we need more to get wins in this league," Columbus captain Boone Jenner said. "We've got to raise our level as a team. The battles and the energy and getting into the game a little bit more."

This is a rematch of a Jan. 1 game, when the visiting Hurricanes rallied from a four-goal deficit to post a 7-4 victory.

The Hurricanes have played just two games since then, splitting a back-to-back set last weekend. Their most-recent game was 4-3 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

It has been more than a month since the Hurricanes have allowed a power-play goal. They've killed off 29 consecutive penalties. That's seven kills shy of matching the franchise record for consecutive kills.

"I think it's a matter of keeping your head down and doing the right things," Carolina defenseman Ian Cole said. "The best way to handle it is to go out and do the things we've done to be successful. If you do it right, you do it well, you do it hard, usually it works out more often than not."

The Hurricanes own a six-game point streak (5-0-1) and have won nine of their past 11 games overall (9-1-1).

Columbus hasn't been nearly as consistent.

"It's winning or losing right now," Blue Jackets center Gustav Nyquist said. "We're in the thick of it."

The breakdowns for the Blue Jackets have come in various forms. Larsen doesn't want to categorize them all together.

"It's not the same thing," Larsen said.

--Field Level Media

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