RALEIGH, N.C. – Coming off their second consecutive win, a 4-3 decision over the New York Islanders on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes have returned home, but are still in the middle of their current four-game road trip.
After traveling to Toronto and Long Island, the Hurricanes have an advantageous four-day respite to recover and re-energize themselves as they prepare to travel to play National Hockey League (NHL) Western Conference opponents, the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche, in a back-to-back set on Thursday and Friday.
“We just regrouped yesterday, had a nice day off and recovered,” coach Kirk Muller said after practice on Monday.
“Today was a good day. Just a good work day – get back into the groove. Probably the next couple of days we’ll work on the areas that we wanna’ keep improving on – three good practices before we head out West.”
Looking forward to those games, from a historical numbers overview, Carolina (4-2-3) will be facing a Wild squad that is currently sitting at 3-3-3, possesses the fourth-best power play in the league (10-38, 26.3%) and is undefeated in regulation play at home (2-0-2).
Playing the first of two games against Minnesota this season, Thursday’s game will be the first between the two teams since Mar. 17, 2012.
The Hurricanes currently hold a four-game win streak against the Wild dating back to the 2009-2010 season, and will need to use that psychological edge to their advantage in order to tally more points at the Xcel Energy Center.
In taking on the Avalanche, currently one of the NHL’s hottest teams sitting at 8-1 (16 points) and coming off a big 1-0 shutout win over the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, the Hurricanes will have to regroup quickly and be ready to play one of their toughest games of the season.
While Carolina’s power play has shown signs of life in recent games (6-39, 15.4%), scoring five goals in its last six contests with the man-advantage, when afforded the opportunity to do so against the Avalanche, success will be harder to come by.
Colorado currently sits second overall on the penalty kill, allowing only three goals on 31 opportunities (90.3%) provided, and will have all week to prepare for the Hurricanes as they don’t play a game until they face off against Carolina on Friday.
Suffice to say, the break that the Hurricanes have during this current road trip could have come at just the right time in preparation for this challenging final set of road games.