Three things to watch in the Carolina Hurricanes’ road game Monday against the Washington Capitals:
1. WARD’S RESPONSE
The Canes goalie is coming off his worst game and week of the season. Ward gave up four goals on 19 shots and was pulled midway through the Tuesday game at Columbus, then allowed all seven Pittsburgh Penguins goals on 41 shots in the 7-1 beating Friday at PNC Arena.
Ward’s run of 21 consecutive starts ended Saturday when Michael Leighton was in net for the 3-2 loss to Columbus. In two games against the Caps this season, Ward allowed one goal on 21 shots in a 5-1 win Nov. 12 in Raleigh, then three on 26 shots as the Canes fell 4-3 in a shootout Dec. 16 at PNC Arena.
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Ward’s goals-against average was 2.28 before the Jan. 10 against Columbus at PNC Arena. It’s now 2.54.
2. SATURDAY SCRATCHES
Forward Teuvo Teravainen and defenseman Noah Hanifin both were healthy scratches for the first time this season in the Saturday game at Columbus. One has to believe it did not set well with either.
Teravainen, who had a goal and two assists in the two games before the Pittsburgh game, was benched for spotty play in the third period of the loss to the Pens — the Saturday scratch, in essence, an extension of that benching. For Hanifin, it was his first time sitting and watching, and he did it with his defensive partner, Matt Tennyson, another healthy extra as Canes coach Bill Peters used defensemen Ryan Murphy and Klas Dahlbeck.
Peters said the changes were as much a matter of accountability as getting fresh bodies in the lineup in a back to back. He will be expecting a strong, positive response from the three scratched players if they’re back in the lineup Monday.
3. MORE ROAD WOES?
The Canes, 15-5-1 at home this season, have played 25 road games and won six (6-13-6). They have two road wins since Dec. 8 — at Buffalo on Dec. 22, at St. Louis on Jan. 5 — in losing six of eight.
The Caps (31-9-6) have a 13-game point streak. They’re 18-5-1 at the Verizon Center and have not lost in six games at home since the calendar flipped to 2017, winning their last two games 6-0 (Chicago Blackhawks) and 5-0 (Philadelphia).
Of the eight Eastern Conference playoff teams last season, the worst road record was Philadelphia’s 18-17-6. The Minnesota Wild, in the Western Conference, was 17-17-6. That’s what the Canes are facing.
CAROLINA HURRICANES AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS
When: 7 p.m., Monday
Where: Verizon Center, Washington