Hurricanes hope to get back on track against the Stars in series

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The Carolina Hurricanes held one of the best records in the NHL in the first two months of the season.

They met another team with a stellar rating over the weekend. Now they meet one of the league’s booming teams with Tuesday night’s road game against the Dallas Stars.

The Stars have won four straight games, allowing a total of five goals in that streak.

“We’re getting to where we want to be,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “It wasn’t that long ago that we were eight points out of a playoff berth, and we’ve closed that gap. We want to be in one of those top three places in the division, that’s our goal.

The Hurricanes went 4-1-1 on a six-game road trip leading up to Sunday’s home stop where they lost 4-2 to the Washington Capitals.

“I don’t like having to hit the road again,” said Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour. “It’s a weird schedule, but every team has quirks in their schedule.”

For Carolina, it will be important to increase energy again. The clash with the Capitals was a highly anticipated one between teams that have often been fierce rivals in the past. And of course the game was filled with emotion.

The Hurricanes and Stars will only meet twice this season after regularly colliding as the division’s opponents in the reconfigured 2021 schedule due to the pandemic. So there is an unusual familiarity between these opposing conference teams.

Carolina was the divisional champion in the regular season last season, going 3-0-1 in games in Dallas.

The Stars have won five straight home games.

Stars left-winger Roope Hintz has provided much of the offensive momentum in recent weeks. He has 11 points in the last nine games.

“We just have to keep playing like this right now,” Hintz said.

The stars will accompany Jake Oettinger or Braden Holtby as goalkeeper. Holtby knew the Hurricanes well when he faced them often as a member of the Capitals.

Carolina is 8-1-1 this season against teams in the Western Conference. Half of their games have been against teams from each conference, which is a little weird at this point in the season.

The Hurricanes have played six straight games without a power play goal. This is one of the reasons why some of the consistency has declined for Carolina.

“There is so much we can improve,” Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho said. “Power play is definitely one of those things we can get better at.”

Carolina’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi has scored one goal in each of the last two games. This is the first time he has scored in consecutive games since the 2019-2020 season with Montreal. Kotkaniemi has accumulated four points in the last five games after providing three points in the first 15 games of the season.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes could benefit from a boost from captain Jordan Staal, who has at times been praised for his playing and face-off work. But the center has gone more than a month goalless, providing three assists during this period.

–Field level media

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