Defensive Zone Play and Optimus Reim.
With tonight’s game being the second half of a back-to-back, backup goaltender James Reimer is expected to get the start tonight. He is currently 4-4-0 with one shutout across nine games, with a quality start percentage of 62.5%. He also has a 2.71 goals-against average and a ninety-one percent save rate.
But as we have seen, his performance can be spotty, and Tampa is one of those opponents that the Hurricanes cannot gamble on.
As such, Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, and the rest of the Canes defense corps will need to be playing at their best in front of Reimer. This means that the Canes need to intelligently pass the puck to prevent turnovers, avoid icing the puck at nearly any cost, and stay on their assigned player. The less time that Tampa, which has a plus-ten goals differential, spends in the Hurricanes zone, the better.
A combined grade-A effort by Carolina’s blue line and James Reimer can prevail against a struggling, but still lethal, Tampa Bay offense. But that effort alone will not win the game.