Sat, 21 May 2022

Hurricanes meet Senators, continue to seek balanced scoring

Field Level Media
27 Jan 2022, 05:40 GMT+10

Well-rounded scoring is one thing that's keeping the Carolina Hurricanes clicking on offense.

"Contributions from everybody -- if we want to go where we want to go, where we want to be," coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "You're going to have to have it."

The Hurricanes might need a good dose of scoring Thursday night at the Ottawa Senators, who had another strong offensive showing earlier this week.

Sebastian Aho has a team-leading 19 goals for the Hurricanes, who are averaging 3.6 goals per game. Four other Carolina players have double-figure goal totals, with two others at nine goals.

Nino Niederreiter is third on the team with 12 goals. Only two of those have come in road games, though both of those have come across the past five road outings.

"He has been good this year," Brind'Amour said. "He has been steady, and that has been real important."

Ottawa began a four-game homestand with Tuesday night's 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, with Matt Murray posting a 32-save shutout. That marked the Senators' fourth win in eight games this month.

In three of the victories, Ottawa has posted four or more goals.

The Senators will have a lineup change Thursday because of an ankle injury sustained by All-Star selection Drake Batherson, a 23-year-old right winger who on Tuesday picked up his 34th point of the season. He'll be out until at least mid-February.

"It's unfortunate a kid isn't going to be able to go to an All-Star Game," Senators coach D.J. Smith said.

Ottawa also lost forward Dylan Gambrell to an upper-body injury during the game. Smith said Gambrell likely will be out for a week.

Tyler Ennis' second career hat trick was the highlight in the Buffalo game.

"It feels good to put the puck in the net," Ennis said. "It has been tough for me this year to score."

To combat Ottawa's scoring, the Hurricanes could stick with goalie Frederik Andersen. He has been the team's most reliable goalie, and with games on back-to-back days coming on the weekend, Andersen figures to get the call for the Ottawa game.

"We know he has to be one of our best players if we're going to be successful, and he has been all year," Brind'Amour said.

Andersen has 22 wins in 28 games this season. That's a huge uptick from the 13 wins across 24 games he had all of last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Carolina has won four of its past five games; those wins have come in games when Andersen was in net.

"There's a reason why he's an All-Star goalie," Niederreiter said. "Every single night, he keeps us in the game. At the end of the day, we can't just always rely on him."

In the only previous meeting this season, Ottawa won 3-2 on Dec. 2 despite putting only 20 shots on Antti Raanta. Senators goalie Anton Forsberg made 47 saves.

--Field Level Media

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