Perhaps more than usual, the Carolina Hurricanes sure are happy to be preparing for a home game as the Seattle Kraken visit Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday night.
The Hurricanes are coming off a six-game road stretch in which they went 2-4.
“We’ve got to find that team game,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “That’s what we’ve done so well over the years and I don’t think we have to reinvent it.
“It’s not really that, but it’s finding it because it sure hasn’t been there this year.”
So, this has been a perplexing first couple of weeks for a Carolina team dubbed by some observers as a Stanley Cup favorite entering the season.
“Our structure works,” Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “We just have to do it better.”
Carolina could receive a boost with the potential season debut of forward Andrei Svechnikov, who has been out since undergoing knee surgery in March.
“We’ll see,” Brind’Amour said. “We’re kind of at the point where it’s getting in his hands. When he gives us the green light, we’re going to chuck him in there. We’re definitely counting the days. … I think we’re right around the corner.”
The Kraken have been off to a slow start to the season, winning just twice — once against the Hurricanes — in their first seven games. At least Seattle can arrive to Raleigh in an upbeat mood after Tuesday night’s 5-4 overtime victory at Detroit.
“To be able to push back — we’ve done it a few times, we haven’t been rattled, we haven’t gone away after giving up a lead,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. We did that again (Tuesday) and it’s nice to stay with it. The guys battled really hard and that’s an important win for us.” That outcome came in the first game of a four-game road trip.
“I think we played well the whole night and did a lot of little things well,” said right winger Jordan Eberle, who scored the game-winner in overtime.
Seattle beat the Hurricanes 7-4 last Thursday in a game where both teams were credited with 36 shots on goal. That marked Seattle’s first victory of the season.
Carolina has lost three games in a row, giving up a total of 16 goals during that span. The Hurricanes were 3-0 shutout victims Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
The Hurricanes had good news with the return of forward Sebastian Aho, who missed three games with an upper-body injury. Also in uniform was goalie Frederik Andersen, who served as the backup after being out for a week.
“We’ve got to get better in many ways,” Aho said. “Good thing we go home now and hopefully, we’ll play well in front of our own fans.”
The Hurricanes have struggled at times on faceoffs, and that’s an area that can be upgraded.
“The key on faceoffs is how many can you win cleanly,” Brind’Amour said. “Our retrieval plan hasn’t been up to snuff either. Those are things that have to get cleaned up.”
The Kraken’s bid for improvement is bound to include work on penalty killing. Seattle gave up three power-play goals to Detroit.
Carolina has converted on 23.5 percent of its power plays this season.
The return to home ice for the Hurricanes comes with games on back-to-back nights, with the San Jose Sharks visiting Friday.