The Carolina Hurricanes have made it through five games unscathed.
They will aim for the first 6-0-0 start in franchise history when they oppose the Boston Bruins on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.
“It’s very hard to win in this league,” Hurricanes center Steven Lorentz said.
So far, the formula has worked for the Hurricanes, whose coach has embraced a simple concept.
“I like how hard we’re playing, to a man,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
The Bruins are in a bit of a strange part of their schedule. A two-game trip comes with matchups against undefeated teams on back-to-back nights. It didn’t go well for Boston on Wednesday night during a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, who improved to 7-0-0.
“Two undefeated teams that we’re going to have to use everybody and trust everybody,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of the approach.
Part of that was putting Jack Studnicka as the center for the second line. The 22-year-old rookie came through when the Bruins took a 1-0 lead in Florida, providing his first point of the season with an assist on Charlie Coyle’s goal.
Boston is assessing options with the lineup.
“You talk about your depth all year,” Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. “That’s something that I think we have in Boston. … There’s a system that we have in place.”
For both teams, this matchup reflects part of a set of games on back-to-back nights for the first time this season.
It’s the back end for the Bruins. The Hurricanes will play the third game of a four-game homestand on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
For the Hurricanes, a busier schedule is bound to mean a change in the goal crease at some point. Frederik Andersen has played every minute in Carolina’s goal through the first five games. With three games in the next four days, expect to see Antti Raanta in action soon.
“We’re getting to it now where we’re definitely going to start rolling two goalies out,” Brind’Amour said.
Andersen, who like Raanta is in his first season in the Carolina organization, is the first goalie in franchise history with a victory in each of his first five decisions.
Andersen said he hasn’t paid much attention to past goalie patterns used by Brind’Amour. Instead, “whenever the goalie coach tells me to play” he’ll be out there, Andersen said.
The Hurricanes are bracing to deal with the Bruins’ top line, which has tormented them often in past years (though the teams didn’t meet last with the reconfigured divisions).
“They’re a great group and they have been for a long time,” Brind’Amour said.
The Hurricanes have posted 22 goals, with their average of 4.4 per game ranking fourth in the league. They lead the NHL in fewest goals allowed per contest, 1.6. The Bruins are in the middle of the pack on both lists.
For Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin, the Thursday game is a chance to begin another streak. He had gone parts of 45 consecutive games without being sent to the penalty box until a tripping infraction Monday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. His streak lasted more than 1,074 minutes of ice time.
Penalty issues have turned out fine for the Hurricanes for the most part as they’ve successfully killed 90 percent of their opponents’ power plays.
–Field Level Media