DECOCK

The Herald-Sun (Sunday) - - Sports - Luke DeCock: 919- 829- 8947, @LukeDeCock

tran­scends coaches, cap­tains, own­ers and the en­tire ros­ter. It’s the leit­mo­tif of a decade of fu­til­ity. This year, the Hur­ri­canes have had one early four-game streak, one three-game streak in Novem­ber and now this.

Now the Hur­ri­canes have given them­selves a chance, but they have to fol­low through. Get­ting on a run of some length is the only way to sal­vage their sea­son.

“We’ve got to get one at some point,” Brind’Amour said. “We’re run­ning out of time to wait for that run. Ev­ery team that’s up there we’re chas­ing has done it at some point. If we want to get up there we’ve got to do it. If you get two, you’ve got to get three. Get three, you’ve got to get four.”

That’s what it would take, would still take, to get this team from the per­pet­ual knife edge of rel­e­vance to a po­si­tion of rel­a­tive com­fort where each and ev­ery loss wouldn’t feel like the im­pend­ing end of hu­man­ity, where each shot that rings off the post didn’t feel like di­vine con­fir­ma­tion of a dis­mal fate.

The two wins over the Fly­ers – one of the few teams in the NHL with a worse record than the Hur­ri­canes – gave them a plat­form to go forth, a foun­da­tion upon which to build a run. But that’s all it was: firm, bare, dry ground for con­struc­tion, not any kind of ac­com­plish­ment. A loss Fri­day, and it would all have been as well as wasted.

In­stead, thanks to the un­likely con­tri­bu­tions of Greg McKegg, the Hur­ri­canes con­tin­ued to more for­ward.

Even now, these are merely build­ing blocks, to­ward some­thing with some per­ma­nence, eas­ily top­pled with one mis­step. The same is true Sun­day in Ot­tawa. And with a win there over the woe­be­gone Sen­a­tors, it would be true again at the Is­lan­ders on Tues­day. And then again at Tampa Bay on Thurs­day, each step a lit­tle tougher than the next.

“We know where we are in the stand­ings,” Micheal Fer­land said. “We want to get some­thing go­ing. We’ve put our­selves in a good spot to build some mo­men­tum.”

This is the chance the Hur­ri­canes have been wait­ing, des­per­ately, to ar­rive. This is the time to get on a run and save their sea­son. It’s now or never. They streak or they’re stuck.

RALEIGH

As Se­bas­tian Aho raced down the ice to tap in an empty-net goal that was his any­way, it meant more than merely a win. It was a third straight win for the Car­olina Hur­ri­canes, only their third streak of three wins or more this sea­son. It was more progress in a dif­fer­ent race, against the in­ex­orable wan­ing of the sea­son.

The Hur­ri­canes have been wait­ing years for a de­cent win­ning streak. With Fri­day’s 4-2 win over the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets, they have put them­selves in po­si­tion to build one, and there’s isn’t any ques­tion about if or when. It’s Jan­uary, and they’re run­ning out of time. If this isn’t the be­gin­ning of a sig­nif­i­cant win­ning streak, it’s the be­gin­ning of the end.

“It has to be,” Hur­ri­canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

One chronic prob­lem with the Hur­ri­canes, be­cause of their per­pet­ual cir­cum­stance, is that ev­ery­one from man­age­ment to play­ers to fans is all too eas­ily caught up in the swings and swoons of each game. Ev­ery re­sult feels de­ci­sive. That’s life on the bub­ble in the three-pointgame NHL, where there is nei­ther se­cu­rity nor in­evitabil­ity. Ev­ery game re­ally does mat­ter. Hope comes and goes like a spring breeze, ab­ject de­spair is al­ways a bad goal away. There is no big pic­ture.

And if the tug and pull of emo­tion sur­round­ing the Hur­ri­canes has felt all too fa­mil­iar this sea­son – for ev­ery glim­mer of prom­ise, two crush­ing de­feats – it’s only be­cause so many of the faces have changed and the cir­cum­stances have not. For what­ever rea­son, and they change from year to year and even month to month or game to game, this team has been in­ca­pable of get­ting on any kind of a run, in­ca­pable of putting a re­spectable string of wins to­gether.

It’s been nine full sea­sons since the Hur­ri­canes won more than five games in a row; with the ex­cep­tion of 2016-17 when they won five in a row, they have had one four-game win­ning streak – and ex­actly one four-game win­ning streak – in each sea­son since.

That in­abil­ity to get on a run

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