The opening buzz around the Carolina Hurricanes has dimmed, so the team has to prove it can make it through the long haul.
The next chance comes Thursday night, when the New York Rangers visit Raleigh, N.C.
Carolina has lost six of its last 10 games, including the past two, after opening the season at 5-0-0.
"We've changed our group this year a little bit and we're talented, but that doesn't win," coach Rod Brind'Amour told reporters. "That does not win if you don't get to the net and be first."
The Rangers have had a down-and-up week in a pair of home games, losing 6-2 on Monday night to the Ottawa Senators and then thumping the Detroit Red Wings 5-1 on Wednesday night.
"You have to handle momentum changes in games," said Rangers coach David Quinn, whose team has won three of its last four games.
This will be the back half of only the second set of games on back-to-back nights so far this season for New York.
Still, it's possible that the Rangers could start goalie Henrik Lundqvist on the short rest after he made 35 saves against Detroit.
"There's a chance he could play (Thursday)," Quinn said.
The Rangers have posted four or more goals in six of their 13 games.
New York's Tony DeAngelo posted two points with one goal and one assist Wednesday night.
"Tony has always been a good offensive player," Quinn said. "He has great instincts, great skill."
For the Hurricanes, it might be a matter of returning to a grittier style after they lost 4-1 on Tuesday night at Philadelphia.
"I think we're looking for the pretty play a little bit too much," Brind'Amour said. "Every once in a while it will work, but it's not a recipe for success long-term."
The Carolina players seem to recognize that they've drifted at times.
"It has kind of been some new stuff of us getting a little too cute," center Jordan Staal said. "Trying to make something out of nothing when it isn't there."
Hurricanes center Lucas Wallmark has noticed that as well.
"We came away from our identity, and we have to play our game to be successful so we should know that," he said.
Earlier this week, the Hurricanes were without scoring leader Erik Haula because of a knee injury. He didn't make the trip to Philadelphia, and that suggests he might be out for multiple games.
Without Haula, the Hurricanes opted for a lineup with seven forwards -- something they've done off and on this season.
On Wednesday, they called up forward Eetu Luostarinen, who is expected to make his NHL debut.
Carolina has received strong play from Wallmark, who scored the team's lone goal in Philadelphia.
"He has been good for us," Brind'Amour said. "But he can't be our best player. That's the other part of it. We got other guys who need to be better."
The Rangers and Hurricanes are meeting for the first time this season. They split four matchups last season. This will be the Rangers' only road outing amid a five-game stretch.
--Field Level Media