Gm48 Vs. Ana: Canes collect consolation point in 2-1 overtime loss to Ducks as struggle continues

Gm48 Vs. Ana: Canes collect consolation point in 2-1 overtime loss to Ducks as struggle continues

Against a struggling Anaheim Ducks team that has given up 18 of 22 points on the road since the beginning of December, the Hurricanes collected one of two points. Against a backup goalie with a 3.20 goals against average and against a Ducks team that has allowed 3.7 goals per game on the road since the beginning December, the Canes scored once to get to three goals in three games for the week. Needless to say, the Carolina Hurricanes are struggling right now. What started in a lackluster second half of last Saturday’s game that thankfully was converted to a win courtesy of James Reimer has snowballed since then. With two games remaining before the much-needed All-Star break, the Hurricanes need desperately to dig down before digging a hole. As I said Twitter shortly after Friday’s game ended: Will be shocked if we do not see Justin Williams on Sunday. Team needs a jolt of energy and could use more offense after scoring 3 goals in 3 games this week. #LetsGoCanes — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) January 18, 2020 Oh how the optics for the ‘need’ for Justin Williams have changed in just a few short weeks. Coming out of the 4-0-1 road trip and riding high, the team seemed fine for leadership. Then a couple tough losses introduced a bit of adversity. But an up and down 5-2 home stand had the team riding high again. Since then three straight losses have the team sinking. The jolt of energy should be a positive, as the team tries to find a way in two final games before the break....
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm48 Vs. Ana: Canes try to dig in against Anaheim after tough Thursday

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm48 Vs. Ana: Canes try to dig in against Anaheim after tough Thursday

After twice coming back from down a goal and seemingly having at least a point in hand, a return of the defensive breakdowns gifted Columbus two point blank chances, two goals and a win. Far worse than the loss of the game was the loss of Dougie Hamilton to a broken leg. Details with schedule have yet to emerge, but it seems like the minimum is 8-12 weeks. But as I said on Twitter this afternoon, injuries are the norm in the NHL and good teams find a way to overcome. Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets have been literal MASH units this year with both quantity and key player injuries. Yet the Penguins sit in second place in the Metro and the Blue Jackets are right there with the Canes. Excuses count for nothing mid-April. Good teams find a way to overcome. That starts tonight with the Hurricanes back on home ice and really needing a win after an 0-2 start to the week. The opponent is an Anaheim Ducks team that has entered the draft lottery race already but enters with a win in their last game over Nashville that is a reminder that outcomes are decided on the ice not by looking at the standings. On the Canes side, this game is about finding a way to get back in the win column and simultaneously take a first positive step forward without Dougie Hamilton. My watch points follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Anaheim Ducks 1) The blue line Minus Dougie Hamilton, best bet is that Brind’Amour balances things...
Five positives for the Carolina Hurricanes

Five positives for the Carolina Hurricanes

After a disappointing loss on Thursday, the Hurricanes are off to an 0-2 start for the week and have extended their struggles against the Metropolitan Division. Paired with the cloud of what could be bad news on Dougie Hamilton’s injury, and Canes fans will likely wake up with a bit of a negative hockey feeling on Friday. While there is some merit in those feelings, there is actually a legitimate set of positives too. That is the subject of today’s Daily Cup of Joe.   1) The standings Even with the consecutive losses, the Carolina Hurricanes still sit in the first wild card spot. The standings shows a tie with Columbus and Philadelphia, but the Canes have a game in hand which when I adjust is the equivalent of a point. And if they need it, the Canes also have the tiebreaker in hand. There is nothing for cushion, but being on the right side of the playoff cut line through 57 games is a perfectly good place to be.   2) This team still has untapped upside This team has significant upside in two forms. First, simply in terms of cleaning things up a bit defensively and taking too many penalties, this team can be better. Further, despite being in playoff position, a number of players have the potential to do more for the remainder of the season. That topic was the subject of my Daily Cup of Joe earlier this week.    3) The team is about to add another good player in Justin Williams In addition to the possible upside for existing players, the Hurricanes just...
Gm47 @Clu: Canes suffer disappointing 3-2 defeat to Columbus and maybe worse with Dougie Hamilton injury

Gm47 @Clu: Canes suffer disappointing 3-2 defeat to Columbus and maybe worse with Dougie Hamilton injury

After posting an article entitled, “Playing Brind’Amour” on Thursday morning, the coach himself verified that he is still trying to find combinations that he likes long-term. The forward lines were completely thrown in the blender for Thursday’s game with the most interesting move being Sebastian Aho to wing. And Joel Edmundson slotted back up into the #4 slot on defense after a run of Jake Gardiner mostly playing in that slot. The headlines from Thursday’s game are abysmal. The Hurricanes came back twice only to allow two goals on defensive breakdowns to lose 3-2. And to make matters potentially much worse, Dougie Hamilton left the game putting no weight on his left leg after an awkward fall after getting his skate tied up with a Blue Jackets player. Those top two bullet points will justifiably leave Canes fans feeling yucky about Thursday’s game, but in total the game was more of a mixed bag with significant positives.   Recap of the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Columbus had the upper hand early and scored less than two minutes into the game on a blast off the rush that beat Petr Mrazek. But despite not scoring, the Hurricanes used a strong first period power play to reverse momentum and mostly road that momentum through the rest of the game. The Canes dominated the game in terms of most measures like shots, shots on goal, possession time, offensive zone time, etc. But the Canes lost two key measures. First, they had a couple of bad defensive breakdowns. And more importantly they lost on the score board. Columbus...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm47 @Clu: Canes continue busy stretch versus Columbus

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm47 @Clu: Canes continue busy stretch versus Columbus

After closing out the five-game home stand strong with two wins to finish 5-2, the first road game and also first of five before the break was a dud in a 2-0 loss to the Capitals on Monday. The concern right now is that this team is out of gas about 10 days early. The Canes had nothing but James Reimer in the latter half of Saturday’s win over Los Angeles, and once down 2-0 had trouble finding a higher gear on Monday. Hopefully two days off will help because the team is now on the tracks for a quick run of four games in six days before the break arrives. Thursday’s opponent is no help either. The Canes face a Columbus team that is playing well right now and has climbed the ladder to just below the Canes in the playoff chase. The Blue Jackets have won four their last five and have points in 16 of 18 games for an impressive 12-2-4 run. On top of that, the Blue Jackets’ aggressive straight line style of play that tries to eliminate transition play has been challenging for the Canes. But more so than the opponent, this game is about the Hurricanes finding a higher gear again. Can a couple days off be enough to recharge? Is it a matter of just digging down and leveraging determination to get through four more? Can a goalie steal a win? At least based on the past two games, the team has entered the ‘just find a way’ zone that happens here and there during the course of a long 82-game NHL...