The Ottawa Senators appear to be back on track after enduring their longest losing streak in more than a decade.
They look to win their third game in a row Wednesday night when they continue their season-high five-game road trip against the erratic Carolina Hurricanes.
Ottawa (18-7-3), atop the Eastern Conference standings, opened its trip with a 4-3 shootout loss at Tampa Bay to extend its losing streak to seven games. The slide, the team’s longest since Feb. 22-March 9, 1996, came after an outstanding 16-3-0 start.
The Sens snapped the losing streak with a 5-4 win at Florida last Wednesday before beating Dallas 4-2 two days later.
“We kind of got in a lull,” said Senators center Mike Fisher, who netted the game-winner Friday. “Guys weren’t playing as well as we knew we could, myself included. It takes time to get on track. I think we’re getting our confidence back.”
Fisher has two goals and an assist in the last two games after failing to score in 14 consecutive games, and going pointless in nine straight. He was off to a strong start through the first 17 games, with five goals and 15 points after posting a career-high 48 points last season.
Fisher has four goals and six assists in his last seven games at Carolina - six wins and one tie. He netted his first goal of the season against the Hurricanes (16-12-3) in a 5-3 loss on Oct. 11, Ottawa’s only defeat in its first 14 games of the season.
Daniel Alfredsson, among the league leaders with 19 goals and 40 points, has 10 points in the Senators’ last five games. The All-Star right wing has 14 goals and 20 assists in 37 career games against Carolina, but has been held pointless in the last two meetings.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are looking to rebound from a 5-2 loss at Detroit on Sunday to close a 2-3-0 road trip. They are 5-8-0 in their last 13 games, rotating wins and losses over the last seven.
Carolina has been inconsistent offensively during that 13-game stretch, getting outscored 38-11 in the defeats and beating opponents by a 19-8 margin in the victories.
One problem the Hurricanes have had is mediocre goaltending. The combined 3.00 goals-against average by Cam Ward and John Grahame ranks among the worst in the East. Ward allowed five goals on 38 shots against the Red Wings, a night after making 35 stops in a 5-1 win at Montreal.
The struggles in net may have prompted Carolina to promote Tom Barrasso to replace Greg Stefan as the team’s goaltending coach on Tuesday after Stefan was named coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers.
Barrasso spent 18 years as a netminder in the NHL, winning consecutive Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh from 1991-92, and he was the 1983-84 Vezina Trophy winner as a rookie with Buffalo.
Hurricanes right wing Erik Cole has three goals and an assist in the last two games after going pointless in five. He had two goals in the Oct. 11 meeting with Ottawa, giving him four goals and four assists in the last five matchups.