The reunion weekend continues for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Now, the Nashville Predators arrive with coach Peter Laviolette, who was behind the bench for the franchise's only Stanley Cup championship in 2006.
When the Predators and Hurricanes meet Sunday afternoon at PNC Arena it will be a matchup of two teams on significant rolls.
The Predators arrive with a seven-game points streak (5-0-2) despite a grueling part of the schedule. Carolina has won six of its last seven games after edging the Sabres 4-3.
Carolina was back in the winning column a night after a five-game winning streak ended at Tampa Bay.
"We could park that one and move forward," winger Micheal Ferland said, noting the rigors of the recent schedule for his team. "But it has been nice because we haven't had to practice, so that has been nice."
With some of the distractions aside based on members of the visiting teams, it's a critical stretch for the Hurricanes because they've popped back into playoff contention.
"We don't seem to make things easy," Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. "It's a tough stretch. A lot of good teams. ... You learn a lot when the backs are against the wall. Quite frankly, it was embarrassing where we were. We can't look at the standings yet."
The Predators wrap up a season-long six-game road stretch with this game. However, they were able to return home after Thursday night's game in Columbus, so they had that chance to regroup. They'll have three home games later in the week.
Nashville has already achieved something in this stretch.
"Five games in seven nights with all the travel and time zones and moving around," Laviolette said, pointing out he's pleased with the results.
The Predators rallied in regulation before losing in overtime at Columbus. It still left an uplifting feeling for the team.
"We end up in those situations where I feel we always respond, and we always find some good out of the negativity," Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm said.
Ekholm has made the most of just about every situation recently. He has multiple points in four consecutive games.
Laviolette hopes Nashville can get back in a routine with goaltending after Pekka Rinne played on back-to-back nights because Juuse Saros became ill. Rinne appeared in his 600th career game Thursday night.
Since then, the Predators returned goalie Troy Grosenick to Milwaukee of the American League after he filled in as an emergency backup.
After Sunday, the Hurricanes have only one more home game in January,
"Every game is different," Williams said. "There are certainly things we have to clean up if we want to be a playoff team. You lean on experiences throughout your career, good or bad. We have better games ahead of us."
Williams, who played for Laviolette on Carolina's Stanley Cup championship team, holds a four-game goals streak and has racked up 12 goals this season. Ferland is coming off a career-high three-point outing in the Buffalo game.
--Field Level Media