Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters didn’t just make a few tweaks Tuesday at the team’s morning skate. He shuffled the deck.
The lines had new looks. The defensive pairings changed. With the team caught in a four-game winless streak (0-3-1), with the Pittsburgh Penguins in town, Peters decided to shake things up.
“Trying to get some guys going,” Peters said.
Peters had center Victor Rask on a line with Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm. He had Jordan Staal centering Joakim Nordstrom and Brock McGinn, Teuvo Teravainen centering Jeff Skinner and Lee Stempniak, and Derek Ryan at center with Phil Di Giuseppe and Viktor Stalberg.
The defensive pairs had Jaccob Slavin with Justin Faulk and Brett Pesce with Ron Hainsey, breaking up the Slavin-Pesce, Faulk-Hainsey pairs. Noah Hanifin will be with Matt Tennyson after playing with Klas Dahlbeck on Sunday against Toronto.
“Obviously we haven’t been playing the way we wanted,” Nordstrom said. “We’re looking to see if changes in the lineup can get the team going.”
Rask, third on the team in points, does not have a point in 13 straight games. Ryan has gone 12 games without a point and was a healthy scratch last game.
Jeff Skinner, the team’s leading scorer, has had his production significantly slowed. The winger has two goals and an assist in the past 13 games.
“We have to find a way to generate some offense on a consistent basis,” Peters said. “Rask has a real good opportunity with his two wingers and we needed Phil to come in and provide some speed, so he’ll be able to do that where he’s playing.”
The Canes (24-23-8) have scored three goals the past four games and have been shut out twice. On Sunday, they had 15 shots in a scoreless first period and trailed the Maple Leafs 2-0 after the second, but did not have a pushback in the third in losing 4-0.
“We played pretty well the first 40 minutes but kind of fell apart in the third period,” Nordstrom said. “That’s obviously not what we want to do and we talked about it here (Tuesday) morning. We want to play the way we played the first period throughout the whole game. We can’t let up the way we did last game.”
Nordstrom said the Pens “turn and burn quick,” meaning they like to force turnovers and quickly transition into offensive rushes. Pittsburgh did that a lot in whipping the Canes 7-1 in their Jan. 20 game at PNC Arena.
“We need to get through the neutral zone and be heavy in their zone,” Nordstrom said. “And be solid defensively.”