3. Play their Game
Arguably one of the biggest cliques in hockey, along with get pucks deep, is players and coaches stating they need to play “our game.” A statement that on the surface seems rather simple but means much more.
The way the Carolina Hurricanes are currently built lends itself to a speed game powered by breakout passes from their elite defensive core. With Hamilton producing on another level, and the continued success of Slavin and Pesce, it comes at no surprise that their defense core leads the entire league in production from the blueline. While this is impressive already, it is only going to increase as Jake Gardiner gets more and more comfortable with the new systems.
While this is what has lead to the Canes’ early season success, they’ve seemed to have struggled against teams not only bellow them in the standings, but specially in their own division. In some of these games they’ve appeared to have wandered from the typical style of play and effort fans are accustomed to seeing from a Rod Brind’amour coached team.
Revisiting a loss to the Flyers earlier in the season, the players mentioned that Philadelphia beat them at their own game. With Philly getting points from four out of six of their blueliners, they were the ones who controlled more of the play in all three zones. Entering tonight’s matchup at MSG, Carolina needs to make sure they’re the one’s dictating the game, playing their game.
If the Hurricanes can shut down Artemi Panarin and get to Henrik Lundqvist early they should set themselves up nicely. For whatever reason they’ve struggled against fellow Metropolitan Division teams lately, not playing the typical “Hurricanes Hockey” we fans have become accustomed to seeing in the process. Should they “play their game” they’ll leave Broadway with two points.