For the Canes, the season began with a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. With a new month about to begin, the opponent again will be the Tampa Bay Lightning at the RBC Center.
What have the Canes learned about themselves since that first game?
"I think we're more comfortable in our own skin with each other," captain Eric Staal said today. "We've been together now for a couple of months. Obviously we're .500 (4-4-3) and we're still in the mix, but we want to get to that next level as a group.
"We believe we're slowly getting there. From there, you want to become one of the upper-echelon teams. We want to establish ourseleves as one of the elite teams, and you do that by putting together wins and kind of separating yourself.
"We're looking forward to hopefully having a big month in November and kind of getting that done."
The game against the Lightning tomorrow night is one of 10 that the Canes have at home in November. Carolina was 2-1-1 at home in October -- the one regulation loss to Tampa Bay, 5-1, in that Oct. 7 opener.
"We want to get a good feeling going and obviously put points in the column," Staal said. "We want to establish ourselves at home. It starts with coming out with energy in our building and using our crowd."
The Canes were at full strength today as they practiced at the RBC Center. Forward Zac Dalpe, out since Oct. 14 with a lower-body injury, was out of the yellow, non-contact jersey and in a white jersey, but Canes coach Paul Maurice said he is not ready to rejoin the lineup.
"He's not far from getting back into full contact and then it's going to be a conditioning issue for him," Maurice said.
Zach Boychuk continued to work with Tim Brent and Anthony Stewart on the fourth line. There were no line changes, as Staal centered Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose, Jussi Jokinen centered Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu, and Brandon Sutter was at center with Alexei Ponikarovsky and Pat Dwyer.
Maurice said there would be no changes on the back end for the Lightning, meaning Derek Joslin again would be a healthy scratch tomorrow. He did say everyone was "on notice" after the third period of Saturday's game in Philadelphia, when the Flyers scored four times for a 5-1 win.
The Canes put in some power-play work in practice. Staal, Skinner and Jokinen worked with Joni Pitkanen and Jamie McBain on one unit; LaRose, Ruutu and Ponikarovsky were with Tomas Kaberle and Jay Harrison on the other unit.