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Senators meet Hurricanes in matchup of COVID protocol-tainted teams

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The Carolina Hurricanes certainly don’t want to follow the path taken by the Ottawa Senators.

The teams are slated to meet Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.

The Senators are trying to shake off the impact of COVID protocols that were unkind to the team in November.

The Hurricanes, who have dealt with their own issues regarding such protocols, would rather not see their problems worsen.

Carolina was down three defensemen in Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss at Dallas. Ethan Bear has been out since last week, and Tony DeAngelo and Brett Pesce were added to the list, the team said Monday.

Still, the Hurricanes allowed only 17 shots on goal in that game.

“The mistakes that we’re making are just costing us,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “That’s basically what’s happening. The ones we’re making are just biting us right now.”

Defensemen Jalen Chatfield and Maxime Lajoie made their Hurricanes season debuts Tuesday.

“Those guys stepped up and played great and showed a lot of poise,” Carolina defenseman Ian Cole said.

Brind’Amour said Chatfield and Lajoie might have exceeded expectations considering they arrived from the American Hockey League and didn’t have practice time with the Hurricanes before the game.

“I was actually overly pleased with how well they played,” the coach said. “They seemed to grasp everything we were doing. They were effective, had chances. Give them a lot of credit.”

Ottawa had three games in mid-November postponed, then returned to action and hasn’t won a game since then.

The Senators have lost six straight after they were beaten 6-2 by the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

The Senators got leading scorer Drake Batherson back in the lineup Wednesday after he spent nearly two weeks in quarantine. But across the final two periods, the Senators posted just a total of 10 shots on goal.

“Not always things go your way,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “Don’t concentrate on things that have happened, but look forward. You got to get back to having fun.”

Smith said the Senators need a more defensive mindset.

“We just have to find our identity,” Smith said.

The Hurricanes have been without a power-play goal for seven consecutive games. In part because of the lineup fluctuations, they tried a five-forward approach on power plays in Dallas, but they still failed to score on all three opportunities.

“We’ve got to get sharper on the power play, obviously,” Brind’Amour said.

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said the Hurricanes have had solid games even when the results haven’t panned out. They’ve gone back-to-back games without scoring in the first or second periods.

Staal hasn’t scored in more than a month.

“It has been frustrating for a lot of guys, including myself,” Staal said.

The key is to make sure they get results from strong back-and-forth play.

“Let’s not let this linger,” Cole said. “We need to figure out ways to win. And we’ve got to figure them out quick. We can’t let this continue to slide. It’s only going to hurt us in the long run.”

–Field Level Media

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