The Carolina Hurricanes will try to continue their recent resurgence when they visit the sputtering St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
The Hurricanes have won their last two contests on the heels of a five-game winless streak (0-1-4). They are catching the Blues in the midst of a 1-3-0 stretch.
Carolina posted a 3-2 victory in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday to start a six-game road trip. The Hurricanes, who are 7-3-4 on the road this season, had to overcome Jake Guentzel’s tying goal with 58 seconds remaining in the third period.
“That’s a huge win,” said Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce, who scored in overtime. “It’s a division rival and when you look at the standings, it’s early in the year, but they’re right next to us.
“We faced a little adversity when they scored with a minute left. That kind of hurt, but we had the resiliency to get the extra point.”
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour liked his team’s performance against Sidney Crosby and company.
“I thought we played well the whole game,” Brind’Amour said. “Yeah, they put a little push on in the third and we had a little mess up on the six-on-five — we should’ve kept the pressure on — and they kind of just floated one in. I like the game overall and the two points is what we needed.”
The Blues have been outscored 15-5 in their last three losses. One of their problems has been their inability to transition smoothly from defense to offense.
“We could definitely be a little bit cleaner on execution,” Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said. “That’s something we preach here. Coming out of our end has been kind of the bread and butter of this team for a while. That’s something that should be addressed, and just something we need to clean up.”
Blues defensemen and forwards have struggled to get into sync with their breakouts. That weakness could be problematic against the Hurricanes, one of the NHL tighter-checking teams, on Thursday.
“We could definitely do a better job of managing the puck,” Blues forward Brandon Saad said. “It’s tough. Our execution’s kind of been poor. I don’t know if it’s the amount of games or nervousness. But unfortunately we’re getting hemmed in a little bit too much. We had some offensive zone shifts where we played pretty well. At the end of the day we gotta keep it out of our net.”
Carolina forward Teuvo Teravainen (upper-body injury) is questionable to play Thursday. Forward Max Pacioretty (Achilles tendon tear) and goaltender Frederik Andersen (lower-body injury) are traveling with the team but not as close to returning.
The Blues could see the return of center Robert Thomas (lower-body injury) for this game. He was centering a line with Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko at practice on Wednesday.
“What happened to (Thomas), it could’ve been more serious,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “I think we dodged a bullet.”
–Field Level Media