There has been some serious offense for the unbeaten Carolina Hurricanes in the opening week of the season.
Their defense might be even better heading into Thursday night’s game against the host Edmonton Oilers.
Carolina’s three goals allowed are the fewest through three games of a season in franchise history.
“It’s about our game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Let’s not wait to see how the game is going to go. Play the right way is the key.”
Despite good play up and down the ice, sometimes it comes down to the goalie. That’s what Brind’Amour saw for a stretch in the most recent game.
“Our goalie probably had to make too many big saves,” Brind’Amour said of Frederik Andersen, who has made two starts.
Carolina has altered its lineup already, putting defenseman Dylan Coghlan in the lineup in place of Calvin de Haan for the team’s third game. That’s a matter of trying to keep as many players active as possible at this time of the season, according to Brind’Amour.
The Oilers are still trying to get going in many ways. This will mark the fourth game in a season-opening six-game homestand, but with back-to-back losses there are already some uncomfortable feelings.
“I don’t think we’ve played a full 60 minutes yet in these first three games,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said.
Edmonton has allowed at least three goals in every game.
“It’s on us, we’ve got to be better,” Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse said. “We’re not happy to be 1-2 to start the year. We can say all we want, but we’ve got to come out and show it on the ice.”
Nurse’s offense is well ahead of last season’s pace. He has two goals after posting nine goals in 71 games a season ago.
In Monday night’s 5-1 win at Seattle, Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov scored twice in a 70-second span. That marked the shortest span for two Hurricanes goals since Jeff Skinner tallied twice in 55 seconds in January 2017.
Combined with Sebastian Aho’s two goals already this season, the Hurricanes like their production from expected key contributors.
“You need your best players to be your best players and so far those guys, three games in, have definitely done their job,” Brind’Amour said. “We need to keep that going.”
Aho said there’s no reason for the Hurricanes to become too caught up with the early success. They won their first nine games last season.
“We stick to our game plan,” Aho said. “It’s early in the season, you try to take it a day at a time. Just try to be better every day.”
Getting better is what it’s going to take for the Oilers to give them a chance to exit the homestand with a winning mark.
“We don’t like losing, obviously, so that’s not any good,” center Connor McDavid said. “We’re certainly still trying to find our game.”
This will be the third stop in Carolina’s five-game road trip that has the team without a home game for more than a two-week span.
–Field Level Media