The Carolina Hurricanes are back in New York, ready to try again.
Four days after a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the Canes and Rangers face off Saturday in a 1 p.m. game. The Canes then will hop a flight to Raleigh for a Sunday game against the Tampa Bay Lightning to complete the back-to-back.
Three games in five days, all on the road, can wear on a team physically. Wearing on the Canes’ collective psyche may be that they have played generally well the past five games in most areas but have three points to show for it (1-3-1).
The Canes have allowed 11 goals in those five games but have scored just eight after the 2-1 shootout loss Thursday to the Boston Bruins.
“There are opportunities to score,” Canes coach Bill Peters said after the game. “You have to bear down and you have to make a play. You have to make a big-time play and make a difference.”
The Canes (9-9-5) had many things go right against the Bruins. They outplayed the Bruins much of the game. They were quicker to pucks, won board battles, kept tight gaps, got strong goaltending, prevented odd-man rushes and had the lead.
Though the loss to the Rangers on Tuesday was stinging, the Canes rarely play well at the Garden. But to hold a 1-0 lead until the final minute of regulation against the Bruins, with Cam Ward stopping everything, then to lose in a shootout was another gut punch.
The Bruins tied it late with an extra attacker, on a Torey Krug point shot that the Canes’ Teuvo Teravainen kicked in during the scrum in front of Ward. The Canes killed off a Viktor Stalberg penalty in overtime and got a shootout goal from Jaccob Slavin but couldn’t win it.
Former Canes goalie Anton Khudobin, not Tuukka Rask, was in the Bruins net, making the loss tougher to swallow. The Bruins had not won a game this season with a backup goalie before Thursday and were without injured defenseman Zdeno Chara. It seemed to be the right time and spot for the Canes.
But overtimes and shootouts often have not been the right time or spot for the Canes, who have lost five of six games in OT or shootouts this season. Jeff Skinner missed a chance to win it for the Canes with 18 seconds left in overtime, then missed his shootout shot with a chance to extend the shootout. Skinner also failed on a breakaway during regulation.
“There’s no frustration. You’ve got to find a way to get the next one, right?” Peters said. “You’ve got to get to three (goals). Three’s a real good number. We got one on the power play and their’s wasn’t an even-strength goal in the game.
“We had some even strength chances, We’ve got to find a way to score.”
Noah Hanifin’s power-play goal gave the Canes the lead Thursday. Not long after it, Canes rookie Sebastian Aho made a steal in the Boston zone and suddenly was one on one with Khudobin, only to be denied.
Peters has looked at different lines and may have to keep looking. One option may be putting Skinner, center Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak back together.
The line was effective early in the season but then broken up. Stempniak had four goals and six points in the first five games, but has not scored since the Oct. 22 game against Philadelphia, a streak of 18 games.
Center Jordan Staal is out indefinitely with a concussion, causing some line adjustments and the move of Teravainen to center. Forward Elias Lindholm, who left Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury, did not practice Friday, leaving his availability for Saturday’s game uncertain.
“Next man up,” Peters said. “The opportunity is staring guys right in the face.”
Hurricanes at Rangers
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York