|Hurricanes try to get groove back as Senators visit|
The Carolina Hurricanes hit a blip on what, for the most part, has been a sterling stretch.
They will try to get back in the groove Friday night at PNC Arena when they take on the visiting Ottawa Senators, who have been on a bit of an uptick.
"Opportunities are there for us every night," Carolina captain Justin Williams said. "A game Friday, (let's) get back on it."
The Hurricanes fell 6-2 at the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. That was only the second loss in nine games for the Hurricanes.
"We had a few guys who had really good games," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Unfortunately, it was wasted effort because we didn't have enough guys going. You're going to have those every now and then."
That outing demonstrated what can go awry when the Hurricanes aren't fully engaged.
"The breakdowns ended up in our net," Williams said. "Obviously we weren't as sharp as we need to be."
Carolina goalie Curtis McElhinney was held out of practice Thursday because of a lower-body injury, leading to the possibility of a player move before Friday's game. It also makes it likely that goalie Petr Mrazek will be used Friday night.
The Hurricanes (22-19-5) have seen several players take advantage of opportunities this season, so they're accustomed to some roster shifts.
"We need 21 guys," Brind'Amour said. "We've been saying that all year."
McElhinney has played in 18 games this season with an 11-6-1 record, but Mrazek has made a team-high 20 goalie appearances.
After Friday, the Hurricanes won't play another home game until Feb. 1.
"We've got four games coming up here before the (All-Star) break," Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk said. "Hopefully we can get on a good little stretch and pick up some points."
This is Ottawa's second visit to Raleigh in less than two weeks. The Hurricanes won 5-4 on Jan. 6.
Since then, the Senators have shown some spunk. They've won three of their past four games, including Wednesday night's 5-2 home victory against the Colorado Avalanche.
"We're building something, you can feel it," Senators coach Guy Boucher said.
In the latest game, center Matt Duchene scored two goals on his 28th birthday, returning to action after a three-game absence because of the birth of his first child.
"My main focus was to fit in with what the guys were doing," Duchene said. "... I play the best when I'm light and happy. Obviously, some good bounces, too."
With more options in putting together the lineup, the Senators (18-24-5) are seeing the results.
"We're crossing fingers that we keep getting guys back," Boucher said. "In the absence of all these guys, what it did was it developed (other guys). The upside of that, in the long run, our guys got better. Then when guys came back, we're a better team."
On this trip, the Senators are taking along their fathers as part of an annual dad's trip.
For Carolina, Williams had a five-game goals streak, which ended Tuesday, begin when Ottawa made its last visit. He became just the sixth player in NHL history with a streak of five games or longer with a goal after turning 37.
--Field Level Media