Following a trans-Atlantic trip to start the season, then a five-game jaunt that extended to the West Coast, the Carolina Hurricanes finally appear to have found a comfort zone at home.
The Hurricanes won their third consecutive game at the RBC Center, routing the Edmonton Oilers 7-1 Tuesday night. The Hurricanes, shut out in their first two home games, have scored 17 goals in Raleigh since then.
"It's been really fun, with some of the bounces we've got," said rookie forward Jeff Skinner, who had a goal and two assists against Edmonton. "But at the same time, we've earned our bounces. We had to work hard for them. When things go well, it's nice."
The good feelings for the home team came early and often — the Hurricanes scored twice in the first 75 seconds and four times in the first 7 1/2 minutes. Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was pulled after facing just eight shots.
Joe Corvo scored two power-play goals for the struggling unit, and Eric Staal had four assists for Carolina, which has won three of four overall and has its first win streak in a month. The Hurricanes opened the season in Helsinki, Finland, with a sweep of Minnesota.
After that set came a five-game swing that started in Ottawa but included stops in Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix. Many times, coach Paul Maurice said, the body clocks and alarm clocks were in disagreement.
"It was really strange," Maurice said. "I feel on the ice, the players are now back on Eastern time and back on their routine."
The routine at home lately has been scoring — and plenty of it. A revamped power play gave Carolina an early lift against Edmonton, as the Hurricanes scored on three of their first four chances after entering the game in an 8-for-66 slump.
Edmonton, playing the second of a five-game U.S. road trip, has been outscored 21-10 in the first period this season.
"They got a few goals early, and we didn't play our game from then on," Edmonton's Taylor Hall said. "We obviously need to play better."
Patrick Dwyer scored 26 seconds in after a rush down the ice, putting in Brandon Sutter's shot off the pads of Khabibulin and starting the onslaught. Erik Cole scored 49 seconds later on the power play.
Corvo scored his first power-play goal 4:10 in, taking a cross-ice pass from Skinner. Three minutes later, Chad LaRose scored on a 4-on-2 breakaway, accepting a pass from Staal to score and send Khabibulin to the bench.
"We played well, came out ready to go and had a good power play and lots of good movement," Maurice said. "I liked our back pressure, and I liked our work ethic. We were pretty disciplined in how we played."