The Carolina Hurricanes are in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, but the Hurricanes need to do a few things in order to make it into the NHL’s second season. Let’s take a look at three things that must happen for the Carolina Hurricanes to make the playoffs.
History Repeats Itself
The Carolina Hurricanes need history to repeat itself. This applies in a few areas. Eric Staal has been known for his poor starts to the regular season, and picking it up and being a point-per-game player in the second half of the season. Eric Staal needs to be a big point producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.
He has started to pick up his point total, but now he is out with a minor injury. When he returns, he needs to continue to play well with Jeff Skinner and whoever they put up on the first line, whether its Alex Semin, Tuomo Ruutu or someone else.
The Carolina Hurricanes have also been notorious for their second half runs. They fall into a hole often in the first half of the year, but they usually find a way to dig out of it. They usually do not make the playoffs when they do this, but this year could be different.
The Carolina Hurricanes are well within striking distance to get into a playoff spot. If the Carolina Hurricanes can put together a few big win streaks, like the one they are on now, they can put themselves into a very good position to make the playoffs in April.
Goaltending has been a big part of the Carolina Hurricanes season. Anton Khudobin and Justin Peters have blossomed big time in the first half of the NHL regular season, while Cam Ward has struggled to stay healthy.
If Cam Ward continues to play poorly when he returns, he could be a player that the Carolina Hurricanes could trade. Anton Khudobin has a very real opportunity to steal the starting job from Cam Ward if he keeps up his unbelievable work in goal for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Cam Ward could also return from injury and play well. If he does so, that will lift the Carolina Hurricanes to new levels. If the Hurricanes have three strong, NHL caliber goalies, that will make huge impact on the team.
Anton Khudobin and Justin Peters have both had great seasons. If they can continue their success, that will really help the Carolina Hurricanes make the playoffs.
Stars Playing Like Stars
The Carolina Hurricanes are a team full of high-caliber players, some of which have not played well. Alex Semin is the first player that comes to mind. He has not played at the elite level that everyone expects out of him. He is being paid $7 million, but has rarely played like he earns that kind of money. If Alex Semin can step up his game in the second half, he would be a big benefactor for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Eric Staal is a player that also needs to step up. He needs to be the leader of the Carolina Hurricanes. He needs to show the passion and will to win and make plays every shift. He has not done that often this year. He has the power to make or break the season for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jeff Skinner has been truly amazing over the past month and a half. He is the NHL’s hottest goal scorer, and he has started to lead the Carolina Hurricanes offensive attack. He has proven that, at any moment, he can change the game for the Carolina Hurricanes. He is a clutch player, and is over a point-per-game player. If he continues this play, he will turn into one of the league’s elite players.