Hurricanes hoping to finish better vs. Jets

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The Carolina Hurricanes have been gathering plenty of points recently to climb in the standings. But they’re mostly disturbed about points they feel they’re giving away.

So they’ll try to be more efficient for Friday night’s home game against the Winnipeg Jets in Raleigh, N.C.

The Hurricanes have points in 23 of their last 29 games (21-6-2) after Tuesday night’s overtime loss in Boston. In that game, Carolina failed to protect a two-goal lead and fell behind in the third period before forcing overtime.

“It’s puck management again,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We had it on our tape, and we’re just not quite making the right decisions. Sometimes we’re trying to be a little too cute.”

But so much has gone well recently for the Hurricanes (36-23-7, 79 points) that it might seem harsh to be too picky.

“We just got to keep banging points,” captain Justin Williams said.

That’s the quest for the Jets (39-23-4, 82 points) as well, as they appear in good shape to stay in the Western Conference playoff mix. In Winnipeg’s case, it’s important to see how different combinations mesh so the team is ready for any twists and turns that might come its way.

“We want to get ourselves mentally prepared to get to the playoffs and be able to survive two or three injuries,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said.

The Jets had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 5-2 loss Tuesday night at Tampa Bay, so they’ve lost three of their last five games and six of nine.

“I thought we played better (at times), and then we got in penalty trouble,” Maurice said. “There’s not a major deviation from where we want to be.”

Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck departed after taking a shot off the mask, but he later returned to action.

“Definitely scary at the time, but he’s a warrior,” Jets center Mark Scheifele said.

While the game against the Lightning had a bit of a build up because it came between two strong teams, the loss isn’t likely to diminish what the Jets have accomplished so far.

“We can play some good hockey,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “We’ll be better in Carolina.”

The Hurricanes had matched their season best with a five-game winning streak until the loss in Boston. They still have a season-high six-game points streak. They’ve risen to the challenge in numerous recent games against playoff-caliber teams, but finishing the good stretches is important.

“On the negative side, we’ve had a bunch of two-goal leads lately and haven’t sustained them,” Williams said. “We got to find ways to really lock that down.”

Carolina center Sebastian Aho has scored in four straight games for a total of five goals in that span.

“Sometimes when you get on a roll, they keep coming,” he said.

The Hurricanes had defenseman Calvin de Haan back earlier week after he missed two games with an off-ice upper-body injury.

Winnipeg won 3-1 against the Hurricanes on Oct. 14 in the first meeting of the season in Winnipeg. The visit to Carolina is the third game of a four-game trip for the Jets.

This is the only home game for the Hurricanes during a two-week period.

–Field Level Media

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