3. Special Team Success
The powerplay has definitely got better, especially improving without the key piece of Erik Haula. In Buffalo and in Raleigh two nights again, the Hurricanes were able to score a powerplay goal.
The bad news comes when the Hurricanes also gave up a shorthanded goal against the Minnesota Wild and a shorthanded goal against the Philadelphia Flyers. Although the Hurricanes are 8th in both powerplay and penalty-kill percentage, a shorthanded goal isn’t factored into the effectiveness of a powerplay.
Haula was a vital piece of the powerplay, as he would always crash the net and take the goalie’s eyes out. It seems Nino Niederreiter and Jordan Staal are doing a decent job at replacing Haula temporarily in that role, but there is room for improvement. If the goalie’s eyes are out and someone, let’s say Svechnikov, with his great shot, that’s an easy powerplay goal.
Year after year, the Metropolitan Division is the toughest division to play in. Second in the Metropolitan Division now is equivalent to first in every other division. The Hurricanes have been better against good teams, for some particular reason, and the Panthers can be another good team they conquer.
The Hurricanes will have to start James Reimer in one of these starts, as this is the start of a back-to-back. This isn’t a home and home back-to-back either, they have to start heading for Detroit right after this game to see the Red Wings. A win for momentum will go a long way.
On Hockey Fights Cancer night, puck drop begins at 7:00 PM Eastern Time. The Carolina Hurricanes take on the red hot Florida Panthers, on Fox Sports Carolinas.
Question for Cardiac Cane Readers: Will Andrei Svechnikov extend his point streak to seven games?