The Carolina Hurricanes have had just five power plays in the past four games.
Against the Washington Capitals on Thursday, the Canes were not called for a penalty.
Why so few penalties, for and against? Canes coach Bill Peters has a theory.
“You look around the league and there aren’t a lot of penalties,” Peters said Saturday. “We went to (New) Jersey and didn’t have a power play. Washington comes here and doesn’t get a power play. Their game against Dallas, Nashville had one and Dallas had one (power play).
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“I missed the memo but that’s fine. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of penalties being called. I think there’s penalties but I don’t think they’re being called for whatever reason.”
The Caps were second in the NHL on the power play before Thursday’s game. The Preds, who face the Canes on Saturday, are sixth. Staying out the box may be the difference for the Canes, but the flip side is that Peters wants to see his team getting more power-play opportunities.
In the past four games, the Canes had one power play against New Jersey in the Dec. 26 home game, none at Chicago, one against the Devils on the road Tuesday and three against the Caps. Carolina was 0-5 on the power play but did win three of the four games.
“I look at it like this: we talk about generating offense in the NHL a lot,” Peters said. “Power plays are pretty good but when there are no power plays in the game …
“I don’t know why. In Jersey I thought we could have gone on the power play (more) and thought we deserved to be on the power play. … Against Washington I don’t think we played that well that we didn’t take any penalties. There’s some things that could have been called, possibly. I’m just saying call the calls and let the guys play.”
— Defenseman Noah Hanifin missed Friday’s practice with an illness but was at Saturday’s morning skate and will play against Nashville.
Hanifin again will be paired with Brett Pesce. The other D pairs will be John-Michael Liles-Justin Faulk and Ron Hainsey-Jaccob Slavin. Michal Jordan is the extra.
No changes in the lines. Eric Staal will center Kris Versteeg and Elias Lindholm; Jordan Staal will center Joakim Nordstrom and Andrej Nestrasil; Victor Rask will have Jeff Skinner and Phil Di Giuseppe on the wings, and Jay McClement will be at center with Chris Terry and Riley Nash. Brad Malone is the extra.
Eric Staal’s line has nine points in the past two games — Staal (3 goals, one assist), Versteeg (3 assists), Lindholm (2 assists).
— After his 30-save effort against the Caps, Eddie Lack will be the starting goalie against the Predators, making back-to-back starts for the second time this season.
Lack started three straight games in early December but the other starts have been in scattered, single games. Lack will be playing his third game in the past four and seeking his third consecutive win — he’s 4-0-1 in his last five.
“I don’t know what his numbers are … but his process is better,” Peters said. “He’s bigger (in net), playing a little further out, I think, and he’s feeling good about himself right now. Both goaltenders are going well.”
— The Preds (18-13-7) play just once at PNC Arena this season, which marks the 10th anniversary of the Canes’ Stanley Cup run.
Preds coach Peter Laviolette led the Canes to the Cup in that unforgettable season, and said any trip back to PNC Arena brings flashbacks to 2006.
“I was driving in here this morning, just looking at the building and the parking lots around it and thinking about the tailgating that went on, and the fans and how supportive they were,” Laviolette said. “How loud it was in the building here, how they didn’t sit down the entire Game 7 against Edmonton. So many real good memories.”