The Carolina Hurricanes have lost just one game in the past month.
That’s good, but the footnote to this is that they haven’t played much.
They will be back on the ice to take on the visiting Calgary Flames on Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.
“It’s not in our control, all these breaks and how many games we get to play,” Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen said.
The Hurricanes have played just two games since Dec. 18. They’ve won eight of their last nine, with that stretch beginning Dec. 4.
The latest layoff has come after a 7-4 victory at Columbus on Saturday.
Following the gap in the schedule, the Hurricanes will have games on back-to-back nights — with the Florida Panthers visiting Saturday.
“It’s nice to get playing,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I feel like we got a little stale here for sure. You try not to. We’ve only played two games in forever. We have to kind of get a rhythm going again.”
Only one of the games — back in mid-December — was called off because of COVID concerns related to the Hurricanes. The other postponements were connected to opponents’ situations or the NHL-wide extended holiday break.
Carolina might be at full strength for the visit from Calgary.
“It’s nice to have the group healthy,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s what every coach and team wants. That’s what you need if you’re going to be successful long term.”
The Flames have played three times this week. They fell in their last two, including a 4-1 loss Thursday night at Tampa Bay. Combined with a defeat at Florida, their visit to the Sunshine State saw them outscored by a combined 10-3.
Calgary goes to Carolina hoping for a turnaround.
“We have to be ready for a great challenge, but I think that’s what we need right now,” Flames left winger Matthew Tkachuk said.
The Flames have been one of the top teams in the NHL, but they’ve hit some glitches.
“Sometimes you learn lessons the hard way in this league, and I thought we learned a lot of them,” center Blake Coleman said of the most recent loss.
The Hurricanes had a memorable game at Columbus, where they wiped out a four-goal hole to win 7-4. A scheduled game Tuesday at Toronto was postponed based on regulations in Canada, so it has been nearly another full week without games.
“We had some good practices,” Hurricanes center Martin Necas said. “We have a good group. With (Brind’Amour), it’s never an easy practice. We’re excited to go out there and play.”
Andersen had been in COVID protocol and missed time. He said he was watching from the couch for more than a week before he was called upon for a relief effort and picked up the goaltending victory in the Columbus game.
He hopes he’s moving back toward being in a groove.
“It’s all about habits,” Andersen said. “This week has been good for me. We had a good chance of getting our feet back under us as a group as well. … Continue to work on getting back to where I was before.”
Carolina defeated the Flames 2-1 in overtime on Dec. 9.
“Calgary is a little more committed to really shutting you down,” Brind’Amour said.
–Field Level Media