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It wasn't long ago that the Hurricanes were looking forward to getting back on home ice to cure their road woes.

Now, it might be the other way around.

After going 0-2-1 on last week's three-game home stand, the Hurricanes will spend this week on a three-game road trip beginning Tuesday night in Montreal and continuing through Boston and Minnesota on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Montreal is currently ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Even though they will be away from their families in Raleigh for an entire week on the continuous trip, spending so much time together as a team might be just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Hurricanes.

"It can actually be good because it gets the guys together," said winger Scott Walker. "Your whole thought when you're on the road is hockey. You're with the team every day, with your teammates at dinners, before you go to sleep, out for a movie or whatever you do. Your focus can really be on these next three games."

Picking up points in these next few games will be crucial for the Hurricanes, who suddenly find their backs against the wall in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Carolina currently occupies the eighth and final spot, but the two teams directly below them, Toronto and the New York Islanders, have each played fewer games. If those teams were to pick up wins in those extra games, the Hurricanes would find themselves on the outside looking in.

"We need it right now," said Walker. "It's important that we get these wins. This road trip can hopefully bring us together, and it might be the right thing at the right time."

While willing to try anything to turn the team around, team captain Rod Brind'Amour doesn't quite share Walker's enthusiasm for jet-setting.

"There's never a good time for a road trip," said the veteran center. "I don't like getting on the road. We've been together all year, so to sit there and say you get more on the road is really not true. But maybe it's just time to focus on the games and nothing else, no family or no anything. You can go and be a little bit more focused, which is what we need right now."


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