The Carolina Hurricanes completed a bevy of deals before Wednesday's trade deadline, but might benefit most this season from a move they didn't make.
With veteran forward Ray Whitney still on the roster, the new-look Hurricanes will try to extend their season-high winning streak to seven Thursday night when they host the Ottawa Senators.
Carolina (25-30-7) traded six players Wednesday in moves that will save the team around $2 million over the next six weeks. Among the departed were defensemen Joe Corvo and Aaron Ward.
In return, the Hurricanes received five draft picks and four players including defenseman Brian Pothier, who played three seasons in Ottawa from 2002-06. Those deals came nearly three weeks after Carolina sent Matt Cullen to Ottawa for Alexandre Picard and another draft pick, and almost a month after they acquired two more picks from San Jose for Niclas Wallin.
The Hurricanes stopped short of completely throwing in the towel on this season by keeping Whitney, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Whitney has three goals and five assists during a six-game point streak, and two goals and two assists in two matchups this season with Ottawa (36-24-4).
Carolina's recent surge -- the Hurricanes opened 5-17-5 but have now won 10 of their last 12 -- helped convince general manager Jim Rutherford to hold on to Whitney.
"We'll find out in a month or so if it's too late, if we dug too big of a hole," Rutherford told the team's official Web site. "We might not have. This is still possible. It's a stretch, but we're not a team that is going to give up."
The Hurricanes' six straight wins are their most since a nine-game run March 18-April 7. They've also outscored their opponents 26-10 in six straight home victories.
Carolina surged into the 2008-09 postseason by winning 12 in a row at the RBC Center, including one over Ottawa. The Hurricanes also defeated the Senators 4-1 at home earlier this season, and have outscored Ottawa 13-4 while winning the past four home meetings. The home team has won all eight games in this series since the start of the 2008 calendar year.
While Carolina has been hot lately, Ottawa has split its last six games after winning the previous 11. The Senators fell 4-1 at home to the New York Rangers on Tuesday, when netminder Brian Elliott was pulled after giving up all four goals during the second period.
"A couple of bounces and some nice plays and it was in the back of our net a number of times," center Mike Fisher said. "We've got to be better mentally and not let that happen again."
Despite the recent inconsistency, the Senators remain in good shape as they try to return to the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 seasons. They were relatively quiet before the trade deadline, acquiring veteran defenseman Andy Sutton from the New York Islanders for a draft pick on Tuesday.
Sutton may need to produce right away. Filip Kuba's status is unknown for Thursday due to a lower-body injury.
"He'll provide some depth for us," general manager Bryan Murray said of Sutton. "More than that, he'll be a different element on our team. He's big and strong, and tough around the net. ... He's been around and obviously has the experience to play a lot of key minutes for us."