Key 2: Engage the Power-play
The Carolina Hurricanes have to cash in on the power play
While it didn’t seem like that Carolina Hurricanes really had much going on in their power-play during the regular season, they still had the 8th best power-play percentage in the league. Add on the fact that they are 4th overall in the league in the penalty kill and you have a special teams that is good enough to take on anyone in the league.
Today the Carolina Hurricanes will have to begin flexing that muscle out in preparation for the New York Rangers. That means taking advantage of the fact that guys like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen can play both ends of the special teams. That means taking the shots as they open up against Braden Holtby and stopping Alex Ovechkin on the other end as well.
The Washington Capitals are no pushover on special teams themselves. While only 17th on the power-play, Ovechkin makes them a threat to score at any time, percentages be damned. They are also 6th on the kill thanks to guys like John Carlson cleaning up at the blue line.
While today’s game is technically insignificant, it will be the first time these units get any real action. Also expect Rod Brind’amour to test out some unique units with players like Morgan Geekie getting some power-play time. Extra players on the roster for the exhibition game means more ways Rod can find out what his players are really made of.
Special teams success today will translate to special teams success against the Rangers and a more likely escape out of the play-in round and into the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.