After taking the weekend off, the Carolina Hurricanes returned to the ice today in preparation for a huge week coming up as they take on the division leading Winnipeg Jets twice as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs at the ACC. The Canes are now four points behind the Jets, five points behind the Leafs, and they are one point behind the eighth place New York Rangers.
The club does have games in hand on most of the teams ahead of them, but games in hand are meaningless unless you are able to earn points in them.
The, at one time almost dead, Washington Capitals, are just one point behind the Canes and have been making up ground fast.
The break came at a good time because the tired Hurricanes find themselves in the midst of a scoring slump and a losing streak. They have scored just four goals in their last 14 periods of play and have lost five games in a row, (0-4-1). The club also has a losing record at home, (7-8) which they will try to rectify tomorrow night when the Jets come to town.
Some good news for the club is that Chad LaRose and Joe Corvo both returned to practice today. According to Chip Alexander and this article on Canes Now, LaRose was on the second line with Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner, while Corvo was paired with Tim Gleason. The other defensive pairings were Jamie McBain and Joni Pitkanen and Brett Bellemore and Jay Harrison.
The forward lines were as follows: Eric Staal, Alexander Semin, Jiri Tlusty, - Staal, LaRose, Skinner - Riley Nash, Tuomo Ruutu, Patrick Dwyer - Jussi Jokinen, Tim Wallace, Drayson Bowman - and Tim Brent with Kevin Westgarth and Adam Hall.
Riley Nash did not get a rest as he was sent to Charlotte on Friday but then returned today. Zach Boychuk finally cleared waivers and was assigned to the Checkers.
In other news, Tampa Bay fired coach Guy Boucher. The Lightning, who are 3-0 against the Canes this season, are five points behind Carolina in the standings. The have scored 103 times, second most in the East, but have allowed 98 goals.
The Hurricanes have scored 85 and allowed 86. They are 10th in the league averaging 2.83 goals scored per game and are 21st in the league while allowing 2.83 goals per game.
Can the club get back on a roll?