Wednesday’s night contest against the Philadelphia Flyers marks the first of five straight home games for the Hurricanes.
Currently at 9-6 overall, Carolina’s homestand comes at the perfect time.
The Hurricanes are tied for the most games played in the NHL, yet sit tied for eighth with 18 points.
In this case, their record does not tell the whole story. Rod Brind’Amour’s squad has had a healthy lineup of skaters for just two games this season, as Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, and Brett Pesce have all missed multiple contests due to injury.
Combine that with an early west coast road trip, and the start to the season has been unkind to Carolina.
Just four of their first 15 games have been at PNC Arena in Raleigh, as they’ve taken part in a six-game, three-game, and two-game road trip already this season.
Only Chicago has played in as little as four home games like Carolina, while their 11 contests away from Raleigh are first in the NHL by two games.
“Eleven games out of 15 on the road to start the season is pretty tough. Now you have to take advantage of the time at home, or you waste it,” said Rod Brind’Amour after Monday’s practice. “[We’ll] take it a game at a time like we always do, but it’ll be nice to have a little consistency.”
The Hurricanes are 5-6 on the road and a perfect 4-0 on home ice.
That’s why their five game homestand, which includes contests against three opponents below them in the Metro Division, is just what the doctor ordered.
Not only is Carolina as healthy as they will be for the foreseeable future, but they get a chance to chip away at New York’s Metropolitan Division lead behind their home crowd.
Following Wednesday night’s matchup against the Flyers, Carolina welcomes Pittsburgh on Saturday before another three day break, which is key over an 82 game season.
But, when absent from game action for multiple days, finding the balance is important.
“As you plan your year, you’re looking at rest versus getting things done,” said Brind’Amour. “Rest is more important at times, but, this time of the year, you’re still pushing it a little bit on practice days.”
Carolina Carolwill square off against Edmonton on Nov.22, Tampa Bay on Nov. 24th, and close out the homestand against Columbus on Nov. 26.
While the fans in Raleigh are sure to enjoy the home contests, the Hurricanes themselves are looking forward to the two week long stay.
“We’re excited, for sure. It’s been a long month or so being on the road,” said Brady Skjei. “We’re excited to get back, play in front of the fans, and play in Raleigh.”
Carolina currently sits five points behind the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and six behind Boston for the Eastern Conference lead.