November 21, 2014

The Carolina Hurricanes have had some time to regroup before continuing their lengthy road stretch.

Though the Hurricanes' only road victory over the Colorado Avalanche came almost 20 years ago, the focus is to simply improve on their early play Wednesday night when they visit the Pepsi Center.

After dropping its first three games, Carolina opened a seven-game road stretch with Friday's 5-3 win over Detroit. The Hurricanes then took a step back by falling 4-1 at Washington the next night.

With three days between games, the club went back to Raleigh to practice and get re-focused for the final five of the trek.

"It's really up to us, individually, to make the decision to do it right every shift, every night," coach Bill Peters told the Hurricanes' official website. "Then collectively, as a group, we stay with it.

"There are no shortcuts, no secrets to success. If we get our head wrapped around that, we'll be fine."

The Hurricanes can certainly use some fine-tuning.

They've been held to one goal three times and are 2 for 20 on the power play. They've also yielded four goals on three occasions and Cam Ward has posted a 3.70 goals-against average while losing two of his last three starts.

"You've got to get some answers," Peters said. "We have a decision to make on how we want to play each and every night.

"We have the ability to play with skill and tempo. That's how we want to play. Now we have to be able to go out on the road and do it, we have to be able to do it at home and we have to be able to do it on back-to-back nights. It's decision-making time prior to getting out on this trip."

Then the Hartford Whalers, the franchise won 3-2 in overtime in its first road game against the Avalanche on Feb. 9, 1996. It tied in each of the next two trips to Denver but has gone 0-9-1 there since.

Ward is 0-2-1 with a 4.28 GAA at Colorado and backup Eddie Lack is 0-1-1 with a 4.96 GAA there.

The Avs' Gabriel Landeskog has been held without a point the last two games after recording six in the first three. He has a goal and two assists in three at home against Carolina.

Matt Duchene scored a power-play goal Sunday, but Colorado (2-3-0) fell 2-1 at Los Angeles. The Avalanche are 6 for 18 with the man advantage but recorded only that goal in six opportunities against the Kings.

Reto Berra made 38 saves and is 1-1-0 with a 0.85 GAA. He could make his third straight start in place of the struggling Semyon Varlamov, who's posted a 5.07 GAA in the first three games.

"(Berra) is really sound in front of his net," coach Patrick Roy told the Avalanche's official website. "He's under control, and everything seems pretty easy for him right now."

Colorado will be without defenseman Tyson Barrie while he serves the second of a three-game suspension for a high hit on Anaheim's Simon Despres last week.

Carolina's Jeff Skinner has a goal and an assist in two games after failing to record either in the first three. He had two assists in a 4-3 loss at Colorado on Nov. 22.

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