MONTREAL -- It's always nice for a lot of the Canes to bring their dads along for a road game. They go out to eat, they share a few laughs, they pose on the ice for a group photo at the morning skate. It's a memory-making moment.
But there appeared to be an underlying tension among the Canes' players today and it's understandable. That ugly 8-1 loss to the Flyers on Thursday still hangs over them like an angry dark cloud. Only playing, and winning, will change that and brighten the mood. Like tonight, against the Canadiens.
"We've been lacking the consistency in terms of committing to how we need to play the game to be successful," forward Erik Cole said after today's morning skate at the Bell Centre. "Especially in the last week it's been very glaring in the games we've played the way we should and in the games we haven't.
"I think our focus will be here tonight. We'll come ready to compete and work hard. When we do that we're a tough team to play against. We need to worry about ourselves and how hard we're competing in the battles, how hard we're playing and pushing ourselves and sticking to our game plan and playing the game we know."
That's what Canes coach Paul Maurice wants. He wants the lessons learned from Thursday night to translate into an all-out effort in tonight's game.
"It's really an important game for us in terms of taking ownership of that last game," Maurice said. "We're too early in the season and I think they're too young a team to be able to say, 'Hey, it was one of those nights.'
"We've got to take ownership for what happened and we need to have an energy-filled game. It's not even about the score on the clock. It's about how we play and more importantly how hard we play."
Maurice gave some thought to making a lineup change and giving Patrick O'Sullivan a start. But he's decided O'Sullivan again will be a healthy scratch. No line changers, either.
Maurice said playing in the Bell Centre usually is enough to get the adrenaline flowing. That should help.
"There's always a lot of energy on the bench," he said. "With the crowd and the national anthems and everything, there's a lot of energy there and we need to have that in our game tonight."
Of having the fathers along, Maurice joked that "all the dads we had at the Philly game we sent home and only brought the new guys in."