RALEIGH, N.C. – Following practice on Wednesday, Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters pointed out three things that his team needed to do if they were going to beat the NHL’s Eastern Conference leaders, the Washington Capitals, to ring in the New Year on a positive note.
“We’ve got to bear down and jump on teams when the situation calls for it,” Peters said.
“They play tonight, so our start is important tomorrow and then the ability to sustain a quality start.”
The Capitals ended up beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Wednesday, so even though they’re coming in on a back-to-back in the two teams’ third meeting of the season, don’t count on Washington to be too tired.
“They’re a real good team,” Peters continued.
“We’ve played them twice and come up on the short end both times. We’ve got to find a way to get in the win column tomorrow, and it’s going to take everybody playing the right way.”
Playing the right way according to Peters means maintaining puck possession longer and translating that into goals, something the Hurricanes have done more of than earlier in the season.
“Early we didn’t score enough,” Peters said.
“We’re startin’ to score more her recently, so that’s gonna help us movin’ forward, both on the road and at home.”
Peters stated that Eddie Lack would start in net.
It will be his second career appearance against Washington, and will be his first since posting a 35-save performance to claim a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
If Lack can maintain his current quality of play that has earned him a 3-1-1 record in his last five starts, it will help to maintain the upward trend that Peters has seen in his team’s play.
“We create more dangerous offense on a consistent basis,” Peters said.
“Our back end skates better, we hold on to more pucks, and I think we’re a tougher team to play against.”