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NHL Hockey

Knights try to finish trip strong vs. Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It looks like a grueling road stretch for the Vegas Golden Knights, making it more important to finish it the right way.

The Golden Knights play for the fourth time in six nights when they cap a four-game road swing Sunday night at Carolina.

"We have to be better at Carolina and salvage the road trip," Vegas left winger James Neal said. "We'll put a lot of emphasis on that game to get the two points."

The Golden Knights, who lead the Western Conference with 64 points and are one point behind Tampa Bay for the NHL lead, have collected three of a possible six points in the first three games of the trip, though their 1-1-2 across their past four games.

The Hurricanes returned to action following a five-day break by defeating the host Detroit Red Wings 3-1 on Saturday night.

That result eased some tension for the Hurricanes, who jumped into a back-to-back situation after coming off a layoff

"There's a lot of worry, concern," Carolina coach Bill Peters said of coming off a five-day break. "It's not normal."

The Golden Knights have been busy recently. They played three games in four nights through Friday's overtime loss at Florida.

"I think we should go back to the way we have been playing," center William Karlsson said.

But for one of the Western Conference's best teams, any slippage is taken seriously.

Still, there's a chance to complete the road swing with a good feeling.

"It's a tough road trip," Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. "Overall, we've played real well. That's all I can ask for is the guys keep working. Hopefully that last game in Carolina is a real good game for us. Guys have played a lot of hockey and are working hard and competing hard."

The Hurricanes are trying to adjust without forward Sebastian Aho, who went down last Sunday with a couple injuries (concussion, lower body) after absorbing a hit in the loss to Calgary.

There's a chance that the time off came at a good time if the Hurricanes proved to be energized for a few games prior to the All-Star break. This will be Carolina's lone home game between its five-day break and the All-Star Game vacation.

"We need to climb the standings as best that we can to give ourselves a push here," Carolina goalie Cam Ward said.

The Hurricanes had a 1-4 stretch before the gap in the schedule, so the early assessment was that the time off came in handy.

"We've got to keep building off this," said forward Elias Lindholm, who scored twice in Detroit.

When the teams met in mid-December in Las Vegas, the Hurricanes won 3-2 in a shootout. Ward was in net for the Hurricanes in that game.

The Hurricanes called up defenseman Roland McKeown from Charlotte of the American Hockey League game prior to Saturday night's game. That came on his 22nd birthday. He had made his NHL debut in November.

The Knights also made a move Saturday, assigning defenseman Jason Garrison to the AHL's Chicago Wolves. He had played in four games for Vegas.

Updated January 20, 2018

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