The Carolina Hurricanes appear back on track after a hiccup that saw them drop five of six games.
Having kicked off a five-game road trip with Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, the Hurricanes resume their excursion when they travel to face the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
Not only didthe Hurricanes claim their second consecutive victory -- putting their season-worst three-game losing skid in the rear-view mirror -- they also started it with a bang when defenseman Jaccob Slavin scored 30 seconds into the Winnipeg clash for his first goal of the season.
"It's huge. We haven't had the best stretch over the last couple of weeks, so we wanted to start this trip off right," Slavin said of both his goal and the victory. "It's huge going forward. We just need to start games on time, that's something we struggle with sometimes, and when we start games on time it leads to a huge success later on."
Despite a strong start to the season, the Hurricanes sit third in the Metropolitan Division. They struggled to score despite playing well enough defensively in a stretch that saw both the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers vault them in the standings.
"It was a solid game right from start to finish," coach Rod Brind'Amour said of the Winnipeg win. "We had a couple hiccups in the second (period) and that's pretty much it for the whole game. It was a solid game. I think we've played like this for the last couple weeks. We weren't able to score in a couple of those other games."
The Flames return home having lost two straight to end a four-game road trip, the latest defeat a 5-3 affair at the hands of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday in which Calgary held a 3-1 lead at the midway point.
"Disappointing. Disappointing," coach Darryl Sutter said. "Missing nets, missing assignments, turning pucks over. We've got to be better than that."
The Flames appeared to have the game well in hand when they took a 3-1 lead early in the middle frame, but the wheels fell off and San Jose replied with a trio of goals in an eight-minute span before the second intermission.
"We had an opportunity to make it 4-1 a couple times. Didn't get it done," lamented forward Johnny Gaudreau, who has a four-game point streak as well as six goals and eight assists in his last 11 games. "Then, they go on the power play and scored. So, that took some momentum out of us."
This marks only the second time this season the Flames have lost consecutive games in regulation, and they still remain atop the Pacific Division, but the expectations are to find their footing as soon as possible. It won't be easy with the Hurricanes and Boston Bruins coming to town in during a brief homestand.
"I don't think we played our best hockey," center Mikael Backlund said of his team's road trip that started with wins in Los Angeles and Anaheim before losses in Las Vegas and San Jose.
"We come out of it .500. The way we played, we probably deserved it, but it's a hard feeling going on the plane, going home after losing. Like we talked about early in the year, we've got to find a way to turn this around. The best teams don't lose too many games in a row, so it's a challenge for us here to come home, play two hard games and hopefully come out with some wins."
--Field Level Media