Canes coach Bill Peters said he has had no problems with his team’s starts in recent games.
But scoring? That’s a problem.
The Canes are stuck on three goals scored in the first period this year. In comparison, the Minnesota Wild, which faces Carolina on Thursday, has scored 15.
“You look at the last two games,” Peters said. “The Ottawa start, I don’t think I’d change it. The start in New York, I don’t think I’d change it. We gave up three shots in that period.”
And allowed two goals. The Rangers scored twice in 11 seconds Tuesday on their way to a 3-0 victory.
“Scoring all throughout the 60 minutes was a problem,” Peters said
The Canes have been shut out twice this season and scored one goal in another five games, including a 1-0 overtime win over Colorado..
The Wild (9-3-2) are averaging 3.1 goals a game and coming off a 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets despite having forward Zach Parise on the injury list.
Cam Ward will be in net for the Canes, making a third straight start. Ward is 3-0-1 in six career starts against the Wild with a 2.76 goals-against average.
-- Victor Rask is still shaking his head a little over the save.
In the third period against the Rangers, the center was open for a one-timer off the rush, only to have Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist quickly move right to left to make the stop.
“Obviously he’s very good,” Rask said. “But we’ve got to find a way to score goals. For myself, I had a pretty good chance in the third but didn’t raise the puck enough to get a goal.”
Rask again will center Eric Staal and Elias Lindholm in Thursday’s game. Jordan Staal will center Nathan Gerbe and Chris Terry, Riley Nash will be at center with Jeff Skinner and Kris Versteeg, and Jay McClement will center Joakim Nordstrom and Andrej Nestrasil. Brad Malone will be the extra forward.
“We want to have a lot of zone time, create shots and second shots and get a lot of traffic in front of the net,” Rask said. “At least we’re creating scoring chances. That’s the most important thing. It’s only a matter of time before it goes in.”
-- After being a healthy scratch the past two games, rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin will be back in the Canes’ lineup Thursday.
“I expect him to come in and contribute,” Peters said. “I expect him to come in and move the puck, skate, be tough to play against, be physical in our own end and do good things.”
Hanifin has been a healthy scratch in three games this season. He has two assists and is minus-5 in his 12 games, getting an average of 16:34 of ice time.
Hanifin will be paired with Ryan Murphy. The other defensive pairs will have Ron Hainsey and Justin Faulk and John-Michael Liles with Brett Pesce. Michal Jordan will be the extra.
-- The Wild has had 20 power-play opportunities the past four games — scoring twice in a 3-2 loss to Nashville -- and Peters attributes that to the Wild’s quickness.
“Quickness gives teams trouble,” Peters said. “They play quick, they move the puck quick, they don’t let you get set up and their transition game is very efficient. When teams play fast you end up with power plays. When teams play fast and attack the net they end up on the power play.”
Peters noted the Canes “had the puck a lot” and finished with six power-play chances against the Rangers. They came up empty each time — again, another issue.
“It was a little bit of everything,” Peters said of the power-play problems. “We lacked pace coming up the ice and we lacked execution in the zone. So, it wasn’t good.”