Carolina Hurricanes: Desperate to continue winning streak

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 04: Players of the Carolina Hurricanes participate in their Storm Surge celebration following an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 4, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 04: Players of the Carolina Hurricanes participate in their Storm Surge celebration following an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 4, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Carolina Hurricanes have begun the 2019 on fire, racking up three consecutive victories and looking better than they have all season in the process. Tonight they visit the Ottawa Senators, looking to make it four wins in a row.

After seeing the team bounce above and below the .500 mark this season, Coach Rod Brind’Amour will be delighted to see the Carolina Hurricanes back above that mark as they ride their thee-game win streak into the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa tonight. Fans are beginning to see some marks of improvement from RBA and his team – the lines are good, the powerplay has had a slight re-jig, and there is confidence throughout the team. Perhaps our earlier call on Rod’s personal growth wasn’t too far off the mark? He does appear to have improved as a coach since the Christmas break.

Despite scoring 12 goals in their last three games, the Carolina Hurricanes remain just 29th in league scoring. The team’s powerplay is still ranked 26th in the league, despite recent successes.  The team needs to continue its recent tear, and will have an excellent opportunity as they face the Ottawa Senators, who have conceded more goals than anyone in the NHL this season. If ever there was a time to fill your scoring boots, it is tonight. Particularly if your name is Micheal Ferland, or Dougie Hamilton, as both are in the rumor mill today.

Expect Petr Mrazek to get the start tonight, as he and Curtis McElhinney continue to impress the coaching staff with excellent numbers. After struggling when he first joined the Canes, Mrazek’s save percentage is now above .900%, while McElhinney’s is a stellar .923%. We have been very fortunate to have had the best goaltending in many years on this team so far this season. Long may it continue.

All eyes tonight will be on the Canes’ first star from Friday’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Greg McKegg made his debut for the Carolina Hurricanes, scoring a goal and adding an assist for the first multi-point game of his 92-game NHL career.

One man who has gone quiet is the Canes’ rookie phenom, Andrei Svechnikov. Lost among the many stories from the team’s three-game win streak has been the talk of how good Svech’s recent play has been; one point in his last seven games has seen his ice time, which had been increasing over the last few weeks, dip again to around the 13-minute mark. As long as the Carolina Hurricanes are winning, fans won’t complain too much – but if this team starts to slide, all the old questions will be back on Rod Brind’Amour. Svech needs to be given a consistent top six assignment – look for a breakout game tonight to force Coach Rod’s hand.

Prediction: Hurricanes 5-2 Senators

Next. Five bold predictions for the Canes in 2019. dark