Divisional Woes Continue
Covered in the Three Keys article, the Canes have been rather lack luster in divisional games this season. Entering the game the Hurricanes have gone 2-5-1 on the year against fellow Metropolitan Division teams, many of which were/are bellow them at the time of their meeting. While the 2 wins came against the Caps and Isles in the first week of the season, Carolina has been out scored 21-13 in their last six since. Although each game is different and anything can happen within them, it’s a bit concerning to say the least.
If the Hurricanes want to be seen as a true playoff threat they’re going to need the important two points in divisional games. There’s a saying that divisional games are often four point swings, as a lower seated team can quickly gain ground if they come out on top. We saw evidence of this last year with the run the Hurricanes went on and how it helped propel them into the playoffs. While they’re not in danger of falling out of their playoff spot just yet, they still need to figure out how to right the ship quickly, especially if they want to advance further this time around.
It’s been mentioned numerous times now, but they haven’t been playing “their game” against teams like the Flyers, Rangers, Blue Jackets and Devils. While all of these teams are bellow them in the standings, their play against Carolina tells a different story. Brind’Amour even mentioned it after the second period that he felt even though they scored twice in the period they never gotten to the level of play that’s made them successful, ie “their game.”
You can call it what you want; scheduling, hot goaltender, officiating, off night, etc. but the fact of the matter is that their now 0-6-1 in their last seven games against Metro teams. At this point guys like Jordan Staal need to step up and take control early on in these games to attempt to swing the momentum and confidence back in Carolina’s favor.
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At the end of the day a loss is a loss and it stings. Their horrendous start ended up costing them the game and a valuable two points. With two points on the night for Panarin, the Hurricanes failed to shut the dynamic forward down in the first. Looking at New York’s team it’s clear that he’s their go to man and it showed tonight. While they did a better job in the second half of the game, it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
Carolina will be back in action Friday night at PNC Arena against the Nashville Predators. They’ll look to get back into the win column against a Preds team that has underperformed a bit this season. Look for Carolina to come out with a much better effort to start the game in front of the home crowd, especially after their disappointing start against the Rangers.
Question for CC Readers: What are your thoughts on last night’s game?