Carolina Hurricanes: 5 reasons playoff drought will be broken

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 10: The Carolina Hurricanes celebrate with goaltender Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 in a game on November 10, 2017 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 10: The Carolina Hurricanes celebrate with goaltender Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 in a game on November 10, 2017 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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RALEIGH, NC – NOVEMBER 7: Scott Darling #33 of the Carolina Hurricanes hugs the pipe to protect the net during an NHL game against the Florida Panthers on November 7, 2017 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – NOVEMBER 7: Scott Darling #33 of the Carolina Hurricanes hugs the pipe to protect the net during an NHL game against the Florida Panthers on November 7, 2017 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /

2. Darling and Ward are a great one-two punch

Having a goalie as experienced and talented as Cam Ward as a backup is a luxury to have. He was a huge reason why the Canes won the Stanley Cup in the first place in 2006. Now, he can pass on some of that valuable experience to Scott Darling.

Francis did a great job in acquiring and signing Darling to a contract extension during the off-season. Not only has Darling taken advantage of the opportunity to become a starting goalie in the NHL, he’s getting visibly more comfortable between the pipes.

Darling now has his save percentage above .910 and should only get better from here. Ward also had another big effort in net with 25 saves on 26 shots in the win over the Jackets. Only one of four starts for Ward has really been a letdown. The other three have been very solid.

Darling also brings some very valuable experience over from a championship winning squad in the Blackhawks. Him and Marcus Kruger should boost the mood in the locker room and get a playoff mindset instilled with the rest of the Canes.