The Carolina Hurricanes have a tendency to be hot and cold this season, and that has brought considerable highs along with notable concerns.
So riding the wave of the successes is one of the key components that confronts the team on a regular basis.
The Hurricanes attempt to display a semblance of consistency on Friday when facing the visiting New York Rangers in Raleigh, N.C.
"It's time to get this going in the right direction," Hurricanes forward Justin Williams said. "It's not the first 20 games right now, it's the last 20."
The Hurricanes have points in three consecutive games (2-0-1).
Carolina enjoyed solid performances across the ice in a 4-1 win at Nashville on Tuesday, prompting coach Rod Brind'Amour to say "it looks like we know what we're doing. ... I thought we were engaged, everybody."
The Hurricanes are aiming to bottle the performance in Music City and carry it with them. They saw so many things come together that it was barometer to where they can be.
"There wasn't really much letdown," said captain Jordan Staal, who called it one of the most complete games of the season. "I really loved the effort from everyone. It was all good things."
Staal came through with his first goal since Jan. 16, so that was one of the boosts the team received.
"I've been fighting it for a while," Staal said. "It's no question, it's no secret that I need to be more offensive if we're going to make a push."
Only two of Staal's eight goals this season have come on home ice.
The Rangers are among the teams contending with the Hurricanes for a playoff spot.
"It's going to be a playoff-type game for us in a lot of ways," New York coach David Quinn said of Friday night's contest.
New York has won six consecutive road games, including a 6-3 decision in Chicago on Wednesday night. The franchise record for consecutive road victories is seven.
"Our guys feel really good about themselves, whether on the road or at home," Quinn said. "Listen, you've got to win games when you're not playing great."
Many mothers of the Rangers players are on the trip with the team for the stops in Chicago and Carolina. The Hurricanes' players had their mothers with them for the game at Nashville.
The Rangers could have forward Julien Gauthier in the lineup after he made his debut with the team Wednesday night. He was acquired in a trade earlier in the week from Carolina, with which he made his NHL debut this season.
"He didn't play a lot of minutes (at Chicago)," Quinn said. "I thought he did a good job of feeling more comfortable."
The Hurricanes are 0-3-0 against the Rangers this season, with the most recent meeting coming Dec. 27.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been in the net for each of the first three meetings. He made 39 saves in the latest conquest of Carolina, including stopping all 14 shots when the Rangers were shorthanded.
Lundqvist owns a 33-12-1 record with two shutouts, a 2.00 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 46 career starts versus Carolina.
-Field Level Media