With the Carolina Hurricanes venturing into one of the most hostile environments in the NHL outside of PNC Arena, it’s going to be vital that the team can keep the crowd out of it. Win the opening draw and establish domination against the Predators. Keeping them hemmed into their own zone, things like this.
If the Carolina Hurricanes can score the first goal early and make Nashville chase this game, it will become so much easier for the team to escape Bridgestone Arena with two points. It will still be very difficult, Nashville’s roster will pose problems all night long, but the Canes need to make it so it’s only the roster causing issues. Remove the crowd, and keep the game under control to limit major events that could get the crowd into it.
This seems so simple, but the Canes need to be the dominant team here. If they allow Nashville to get on the board first, we know that it becomes so much more difficult with the crowd trying to harass whichever netminder is between the pipes. Even if there are no goals until late in the game, that works. This is just to let this game flow as quickly as it can without letting the fans get into it.
I understand I’m asking for a lot. Playing the perfect road game is so difficult, but this is going to be a litmus test for the team. Did they fluke their way past the Islanders or are they genuinely one of the best teams in the NHL? Nashville will provide a lot of answers. They do not have the best roster, but they have a roster capable of winning this game.
Carolina cannot afford to take this game lightly or they will fall behind and they’ll lose it. One of the biggest cliches is “One game at a time”, but that really is what it’s got to be at this point. Don’t bother looking ahead to the games in the rest of the month, win this one tonight before you shift your attention past it.
Full house, or ghost building, the Canes need these two points anyway. In the Metropolitan division, there are 7 teams that want playoff hockey and Columbus. These two points can go a long way to ensuring that the Canes are not one of the teams that miss out. Even the smallest of margins can have big consequences. When you miss, you often rue the points you drop at the start of a season.