RALEIGH — Given the slightly schizophrenic play of the Carolina Hurricanes this season, it's hard to say which team will exit the locker room today against the Dallas Stars.
Will the Canes be the enthusiastic, energetic team that beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 last week? Or will they be the disjointed group that allowed three goals Friday in the third period of an ugly 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals?
Canes coach Paul Maurice said Saturday that what he wanted against the Stars was "a sustained energy level, on the bench and on the ice. Not perfect execution of every movement (but) a very high energy level."
Maurice noted that the five-on-five play against the Caps was generally even. So was the two teams' emotional level, he said.
"It was even and that doesn't do us any good," he said. "It's a function of who we are and how we have to play to win.
"It's not like we were unemotional or not passionate in the game. It's just that it wasn't at a level that we need to get to, to beat those teams."
Defenseman Tim Gleason said the Canes had a "pretty decent" first period against the Caps in taking a 1-0 lead. But he said the Canes were flat to begin the second.
"We need to come prepared," Gleason said. "It's not so much taking it a game at a time as it is a period at a time. Be consistent, be team tough."
The Hurricanes (5-5-3) went through a quick-moving practice Saturday at Raleigh Center Ice. Eric Staal and Chad LaRose were not on the ice - a "maintenance day" for each, Maurice said - but will play today.
Staal has not had a point in six of the past seven games and does not have an even-strength goal this season. The Canes captain had one shot on goal and was minus-2 against the Caps.
"It's tough, no question," Staal said of the scoring slump before the Caps game. "I need to make sure I don't get too frustrated and stay focused on my game. ... The points and the offense, you have to believe, are going to come."
Maurice would not say what changes, if any, might be made for today's afternoon game against the Stars, who are 9-3-0 and have won their last two.
Travel advisory: Because of the City of Oaks Marathon today, Hillsborough St., Blue Ridge Road and Edwards Mills Road will be restricted. Canes fans should allow more time to reach the RBC Center.