(SportsNetwork.com) – After going winless in October, the Carolina Hurricanes
are hoping to find more success in the second month of the 2014-15 season.
The Hurricanes will shoot for the win column once again when they host the
Arizona Coyotes in Saturday’s battle at PNC Arena.
Carolina has opened the season on an 0-6-2 slide and recently ended a five-
game road trip with four consecutive regulation losses. The ‘Canes were
outscored by a 20-6 margin over the course of the road trip and picked up
their lone point of the swing in a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers
on Oct. 16.
The good news is Carolina should be well-rested for tonight’s tilt, having
been idle since dropping Tuesday’s 4-1 decision in Vancouver. The time off
will allow forwards Patrick Dwyer and Nathan Gerbe to return from lower-body
injuries. Dwyer has been out since Oct. 11, while Gerbe hasn’t played since
The return of Dwyer and Gerbe, however, is not good news for ‘Canes forward
Alexander Semin, who expects to be a healthy scratch on Saturday. Semin, a 22-
goal scorer last season, has two assists through eight games this season and
he was benched for a large part of the third period on Tuesday after taking an
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“He’d played enough,” coach Bill Peters told NHL.com after the game. “I don’t
think we need to take undisciplined penalties when we are trying to dig out of
a hole, right? You’re in a hole. Quit digging.”
Jiri Tlusty scored the only goal in Tuesday’s loss against the Canucks, while
Cam Ward was tagged for three goals on 24 shots.
“We weren’t good enough in any area, and the result is a 4-1 loss,” Peters
Arizona gives the Hurricanes a good opportunity to pick up win No. 1, as the
Coyotes enter Saturday with losses in five of their last six games. Dave
Tippett’s club also has yet to win in four road games this season and is 0-2
at the start of a four-game trek.
The Coyotes were slammed 7-3 by the Tampa Bay Lightning to open the trip on
Tuesday and then dropped a 2-1 decision two nights later against Florida.
Former Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall notched the game-winning goal on
Thursday, as he came out of the penalty box with 9:04 remaining in regulation
and beat Mike Smith on the ensuing breakaway.
It was Arizona’s first regulation loss to the Panthers since Feb. 10, 2007.
Smith made 24 saves for an Arizona club that fell to 1-4-1 over its past six
games. Martin Hanzal scored his team’s lone goal Thursday, converting on the
power play late in the first period.
“Our execution has to improve,” Tippett said.
Carolina has won four of the last seven overall meetings versus the Coyotes,
but Arizona has won three straight and five of the past six encounters at PNC
Smith has started seven of Arizona’s nine games this season, but he could get
a breather this weekend from backup Devan Dubnyk. The Coyotes are also playing
Sunday against Washington.