3. Consistent Goaltending
This is a big one. Petr Mrazek has been relatively solid in goal this season. The 2nd-year Carolina Hurricane netminder has turned in a .907% save percentage with a 2.51 goals-against average. This has led Mrazek to an 8-3-1 record, which isn’t terrible by any means.
James Reimer, on the other hand, has been a roller coaster. Flashes of brilliance here and there, but overall the newest Hurricanes’ netminder has turned in very middling numbers. A .901% save percentage isn’t ‘bad’, but a goals-against average of 3.09 is approaching the realm of ‘bad’.
Reimer has turned in a record of 2-4-0, with most of his games being played on the road, given Mrazek’s hot streak at home. If James Reimer slots into the starter’s crease tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes absolutely need him to be on point. Anything less, and the Canes might be playing catch up all night.
To be fair, the Carolina Hurricanes play an entirely different game in front of Reimer, so his numbers are not entirely his fault; they are, however, enough to be a cause for concern, especially this early on in the season. James Reimer is, by no stretch of the word, a ‘bad’ goaltender, but he needs to get his game together as soon as possible if the Canes want to string together wins both at home and on the road.
A bit of a bonus ‘key to victory’ would be to play a full 12-forward, 6-defensemen roster, and to have Haydn Fleury in the lineup. The Carolina Hurricanes have won more games with him than without him, and he is far too good a defensemen to be sitting in the press box.
All this being said, tonight’s matchup should be an exciting one; I, for one, am incredibly excited (albeit a bit nervous) to see how the momentum from the Canes’ last game carries over to Buffalo.
If the Carolina Hurricanes can get some quality, consistent goaltending, score early, and convert on the powerplay tonight, they should have no problem walking away with another tally in the ‘win’ column.
Question for CC Readers: What do you think the Canes need to do to pull out a win tonight?