Roster availability leaves Hurricanes with questions ahead of Jets matchup

NHL Hockey

The Carolina Hurricanes are beginning another road venture, marking the second significant trip in a month.

This time, it begins with Tuesday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets and comes at a time when player availability is a significant concern for the Hurricanes.

“We’re a MASH unit right now,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

The Hurricanes snapped a three-game skid by topping the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 on Saturday night.

That came without forward Andrei Svechnikov because of a procedure on an injured finger. Carolina also was without goalie Frederik Andersen, who had been feeling ill.

“He should be fine going forward,” Brind’Amour said of Svechnikov, though Andersen’s situation could be different.

That set off a series of other questions because the Hurricanes have played their last three games without defenseman Tony DeAngelo and Brett Pesce. That duo has been in COVID-19 protocol.

Yet Svechnikov and Andersen were both on the ice for Monday’s practice before the Hurricanes departed on the trip. Still, having solid depth came in handy last week.

“Clearly we needed it here early in the year,” Brind’Amour said.

Also missing a game for the first time this season Saturday was left winger Jordan Martinook because of an ankle injury. The good news for Carolina was the return of defenseman Ethan Bear from COVID-19 protocol.

The Jets are coached by Paul Maurice, who has had two tours as Carolina’s coach.

After being shutout victims twice in the last four games of November and managing just one goal in one of the other games, the Jets have found an offensive groove. They’ve posted eight and six goals across the past two games.

“We want to go to the net,” Maurice said. “You have to time that. There’s a balance to it.”

The Jets had a scrappy game in a 6-3 victory over Toronto on Sunday night. Picking up that type of energy in the next game will be important, but Maurice said the Jets are gaining a better grip on what it takes in different styles of games.

“We have to have certain roles for players on our team,” Maurice said.

Winnipeg went 3-for-5 on power plays Sunday.

“We are trying to get more aggressive on the power play,” Maurice said. “The confidence is a really important factor on the power play because when you’re a confident group you go faster.”

That’s a big contrast to the Hurricanes’ recent success on power plays. Across their past 11 games, they have three power-play goals.

Carolina has won only twice in its last seven games.

“Put that behind us,” Brind’Amour said of the skid. “Hopefully, we can start a little fresher in the next game.”

The Hurricanes would like to see center Vincent Trocheck get going on a regular clip. He had a three-point outing Saturday after going eight games in a row without a point. Defenseman Ian Cole notched his first goal of the season.

“It’s good for those guys,” Brind’Amour said. “Everybody always presses.”

The Hurricanes went 4-1-1 on their last extended trip, with five of those games against teams from the Western Conference. Overall, Carolina is 9-3-1 in road games.

–Field Level Media

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