If you haven’t heard, there is a big game today between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh will be coming to Raleigh with a full head of steam riding a seven-game win streak. Carolina, on the other hand, will have had two games against Seattle and Dallas to shake off their “just got home” jitters.
Will the Hurricanes be able to keep offensive pressure on the Pens thus holding their scoring potential down? Will Seth Jarvis be a factor?
Two big questions
What I am most curious to see from the Hurricanes is their ability to keep Pittsburgh on the defensive. Carolina wins when the offense applies maximum pressure and keeps the puck down ice.
As I have mentioned before, it is a grab bag proposition picking which Hurricane will step into the breach for such a marquee match-up. Thursday Derek Stepan, and Stefan Noesen ate their Wheaties. Both scored goals with limited ice time, showing off Carolina’s depth and full game threat.
Teuvo Teravainen looked very good against the Kracken with two grade A shots on goal. If there was ever a time for Teuvo to kick in the turbo, Sunday is it.
Andrei Svechnikov also comes to mind. His physical play has amped up noticeably.
He might not set off the horn Sunday, but Brent Burns will play a bigger role in the Hurricane’s defensive game plan than many fans will see. More on that in a minute
Pyotr Kochetkov will need a All-Star quality game to keep a Penguins team that’s scored nine goals in the last three games out of the net.
Second most on my mind will be how Seth Jarvis is able to add to the Carolina offense.
Jarvis had a big time hit on Bryan Rust back in November that had many on the Penguin bench wanting a call. While everyone on the ice Sunday is a professional, and the NHL has evolved away from retaliation, I cannot help but think the Penguins will do everything they can to isolate Jarvis from plays with some extra vigor.
This is not abnormal, and it is certainly a part of game play when facing a particularly strong element on an opposing team. What I am most troubled by is the fact that Jarvis, though very smart in his play, has that hustle element that might lead him into situations playing right into Pittsburg’s attempt to isolate him.
Let me be clear, Jarvis is a heads up player, especially in big game situations, and is fully capable to sniff out dangerous spots. He will still need an extra set of eyes, like those of Brent Burns, to keep him from the increased attention from the Penguins.
Sunday’s game has the makings of purified, top shelf, grade A, barn burner between two teams scrapping for second place in the Metro Division. Carolina is going to need a big game with all the elements of good Carolina Hurricane hockey needed to beat a very tough Pittsburg Penguins team.