It began after a loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the worst team in the NHL this season.
It now has stretched 12 games, tying a Carolina Hurricanes franchise record.
Canes coach Bill Peters always believed it was possible, even when many others probably did not.
The Hurricanes, after a 4-1 victory Tuesday over the Detroit Red Wings, have points in their past 12 games, going 8-0-4. No Carolina team since the 2005-06 Stanley Cup champions has been able to match it, and it has given the Canes hope they can chase down a final wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference in the final days of the regular season.
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“It’s a good run,” Peters said Tuesday. “In order to do it you have to find different ways to win. Some nights you might have to grind out a point or maybe win a game when you’re not the better team. Sometimes it’s the goaltender holding you in there. And specialty teams have been real good. What we have going here we just have to keep going.”
The streak has been anything but flawless. The Canes had four games go to overtime and lost them all. In one of the OT losses, to Philadelphia, the Canes gave up the tying goal in the final minute of regulation.
But there’s a lot more good than bad for the Canes, who Thursday host the Columbus Blue Jackets (49-19-7), a team that had a 16-game winning streak this season.
The Canes, who have struggled on the road this season, have gone 4-0-1 away from home and 4-0-3 at PNC Arena. Another struggle this season has been an erratic power play, but the Canes have power-play goals in seven of the 12 games and five of the victories.
The Canes (34-27-14), goal-challenged much of the season, have averaged 3.7 goals in the streak. Jeff Skinner has been a big part of that with 11 goals, scoring in eight games with three game-winners.
Skinner’s goal streak of six games and his seven-game point streak both ended Tuesday. The Canes got their goals from Lee Stempniak, Joakim Nordstrom, Jordan Staal and Elias Lindholm, who has five goals and seven assists in the past 12 games.
Skinner, who can be streaky good, has 31 goals for the season, the third time in his career he has topped the 30 mark.
“What’s lost sometimes is how hard it is to score goals in the NHL, and 30 means a lot,” Stempniak said. “With Jeff, when he gets chances he doesn’t miss very often. He’s one of those guys with a natural ability to finish.”
The Canes’ run began March 9 with a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers at PNC Arena. Skinner had the first goal, rookie Valentin Zykov scored his first NHL goal in his NHL debut and another rookie, Sebastian Aho, scored twice in the third on power plays.
Two games later, on the road against the New York Islanders, defenseman Jaccob Slavin had a hat trick and Justin Faulk two goals as the Canes rolled 8-4.
The goaltending has been solid in the 12 games — Eddie Lack going 4-0-1 and Cam Ward 4-0-3. The penalty killing has been excellent.
Lack was carried off the ice on a stretcher Monday after his overtime collision with the Wings’ Andreas Athanasiou, who hit Lack in the head as he scored the winning goal. Lack was taken to UNC Rex Hospital but released later Monday night, diagnosed with a neck strain, and was at PNC Arena Tuesday morning.
“Seeing him there for our meetings was huge for us, to kind of take that off our minds,” Nordstrom said.
It showed. The Canes never trailed in beating the Wings, whose amazing 25-season playoff run came to an end with the loss.
“We know we’re in the race but we don’t want to look too far ahead,” Nordstrom said. “Everyone has done a good job, night-in and night-out, and we just want to keep our foot on that pedal.”
Blue Jackets at Hurricanes
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh