RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes won't have many enjoyable endings to their seasons until they figure out how to start them better.
A horrible beginning to the season essentially eliminated them from the playoff picture by Christmas.
It also led to the coaching change that defined the year, sparked a second-half turnaround and created a change in mindset that has the Hurricanes feeling pretty good about 2012-13.
They'll just have to avoid stumbling again once those first pucks are dropped in the fall.
Coach Kirk Muller says his team has to have that playoff mentality beginning in September.
They didn't have it under Paul Maurice. He was fired in late November following an 8-13-4 start. That led to Muller getting his first NHL coaching job and starting a steady reversal.