The Carolina Hurricanes have had players in and out of the lineup, and they’ve used a rookie goalie for most of the past few weeks.
That hasn’t stopped them from racking up points at a commendable pace.
They’ll try to add to their recent accomplishments on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit Raleigh, N.C.
“That is kind of what you want to have happen regardless of who is in your lineup,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Obviously, we have some steady pieces in there and that can really help. To get that consistent play, I think, that is really just guys working hard, and they take pride in what they are doing.”
The Hurricanes own a 10-game points streak, going 8-0-2 during the stretch. They have won four games in a row.
The Penguins are 7-0-0 this month for the longest active winning streak in the NHL. They’ve played only twice in the past week, winning 2-1 at home vs. Dallas on Monday and 4-2 at Florida on Thursday. They practiced Saturday in Raleigh, probably happy to see the Hurricanes extended to overtime later that night.
“We’ve had a tough seven games, but we did not stop working every day,” Penguins center Evgeni Malkin said, noting the team’s growing confidence. “We have a great leadership group, and we have great experience. We know to do the right things.”
Pittsburgh has an eight-game points streak, beginning with an overtime loss at home Nov. 29 to Carolina. The Penguins have won seven consecutive games.
Malkin said his leg injury from a puck striking him from captain Sidney Crosby’s third-period shot Thursday shouldn’t keep him out of the lineup.
“A little bit of a bruise, but so much better from (Friday),” Malkin said. “I hope (Sunday) is a little bit better.”
Martin Necas has a team-leading nine multi-point games this season after scoring the overtime winner Saturday night in a 5-4 victory over the visiting Stars. That tops his eight multi-point games from last season, when he appeared in 78 regular-season games.
He has been in the right spot near the puck at the right times.
“He’s always around it,” Brind’Amour said of Necas.
Another breakthrough for Carolina could be coming from winger Teuvo Teravainen, who notched his first goal of the season Saturday. He missed 10 games with an upper-body injury, so he’s still getting in the groove.
“I’m feeling pretty good after that injury,” Teravainen said.
The Hurricanes hope that’s a sign of more things to come from Teravainen.
“I’m pretty sure now it’s going to be more and more,” Necas said.
It’s expected that rookie Pyotr Kochetkov will be in the crease for the Hurricanes on Sunday. The goalie played in seven straight games before serving as Saturday night’s backup.
The Hurricanes don’t feel they need to alter their approach while facing the Penguins.
“Just keep it simple and another good start,” defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “They’re a good team as well. We’ve got to make sure we’re sticking to our game and get the pucks in deep and letting our forwards go to work. That’s our bread and butter.”
–Field Level Media