The Carolina Hurricanes enter the second week of their west coast road trip on Tuesday, as they take on the San Jose Sharks.
After earning a victory in a nine round shootout against Los Angeles on Saturday and then falling to the Anaheim Ducks, Rod Brind’Amour’s squad will look to get back on track against the Sharks.
Their last two contests have left a lot to be desired for Brind’Amour, who watched the Hurricanes blow a three goal lead against the Kings and then trail for 57 minutes against Anaheim.
This by no means is a reflection of Carolina’s talent, but there have been a handful of things to clean up.
Luckily for the Hurricanes, San Jose offers a chance to garner some momentum and get back in the win column.
The Sharks dropped their second straight contest to start the season against Colorado on Saturday, as the Avalanche took down the Pacific Division foe 2-1 in a shootout.
Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was nothing short of brilliant in net, stopping 51 shot attempts, including 48 straight. Blackwood held Colorado scoreless for nearly 59 minutes before Cale Makar knotted the contest at 1 apiece with just 1:26 remaining in regulation.
Now, while that was an incredible performance from the 26-year old, it certainly provides the notion that Carolina will have an abundance of opportunities to score.
Hurricanes’ fans are now likely reminded of Juuse Saros’ 64-save performance last season, in which Blackwood attempted to replicate on Saturday, but I do not expect the fourth-most saves in an NHL contest to be matched again tonight.
Offensively, Filip Zadina and Tomas Hertl are the driving force for San Jose, who have earned one point over the first two contests. Zadina and Hertl have combined for 27% of their shot attempts so far and will look to guide the Sharks to victory as they continue their homestand.
Through three games, Teuvo Teravainen has been the clear cut offensive star for Carolina, amassing at least one goal in each contest. Teravainen has netted four scores on just five shot attempts and has certainly been playing with confidence.
Sixteen different Canes have tallied a point so far, while Brady Skjei is tied with Teravainen for the team lead with four points.
Heading towards puck drop, the biggest question mark seems to be surrounding the framework of Carolina’s lineup.
Freddie Andersen will be in net and 17 of the 18 skaters are likely already decided, but, will the Hurricanes roll out 12 forwards or seven defensemen?
After being in the lineup for the season opener and recording just 4:39 of ice time, Jalen Chatfield has been a healthy scratch the last two games, as Brendan Lemieux served as the 12th forward.
But, could Chatfield find himself back in the lineup?
With Dmitry Orlov still getting acclimated to Rod Brind’Amour’s system and Tony DeAngelo struggling as part of the third defensive pairing, giving Chatfield more ice time is certainly a possibility.
San Jose is projected to finish near the bottom of the Pacific Division and Carolina sits amidst Stanley Cup talks, which should allow for them to secure their third victory of the season if they perform better than they did against Los Angeles and Anaheim.
Puck drop is set for 10:30pm EST at the SAP Center in San Jose.