The script for Thursday night

The script for Thursday night

The task at hand for the Carolina Hurricanes is to win a single hockey game and then go from there. That ask is not that outlandish. The Hurricanes have been a great hockey team on home ice throughout the playoffs and the team’s first loss at PNC Arena on Tuesday was actually not that far off base on a night when the team arguably deserved better. So asking for and receiving a win on Thursday is well within the realm of possibilities. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe writes the script for that win.   Repeat of the start The start really needs to be no different than Tuesday’s. The Hurricanes had an 11-1 shots on goal advantage when Justin Williams and Torey Krug went off the ice with matching penalties, changed the flow of the game a bit and offered a small amount of relief for the Bruins. So in terms of intensity level, pace and just about everything else, the team is simply looking for a repeat of Tuesday without offering the Bruins breathing room by taking penalties.   …But with finishing The difference in Tuesday’s game was the fact that the Hurricanes were unable to convert pretty much a full period of sheer dominance into anything on the scoreboard. The Hurricanes simply missed the net multiple times with Teravainen’s miss 18 seconds in and Svechnikov’s back door miss being the most notable. Tuukka Rask, who was also incredibly good on a number of shots, was also flat out lucky on multiple occasions. Justin Williams nicked the cross bar. Rask had one shot through a screen that he...
Looking forward to game 4

Looking forward to game 4

Down 3-0 and battling a good hockey team and a goalie who is playing out of his mind, the Carolina Hurricanes obviously face long odds to win the series and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Though it might not feel like it to Canes fans, there is a difference between “long odds” and “zero chance.” Interestingly, the 2014 Los Angeles Kings were the fourth team to come back from a 3-0 deficit. That team went on to win the Stanley Cup. A key player on that team was none other than Justin Williams. As I said on Twitter shortly after Tuesday’s loss: I know optimism is rightfully a near impossible sell right now, but if #Canes wanted to somehow write a script to top #allcaps series win, this would be the start. #TakeWarning — Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) May 15, 2019   What would it take? 1) Belief I think the biggest obstacle to winning a series after falling behind 3-0 is very simply mustering the belief across the entire roster that it will happen. Having lived it, the Hurricanes no doubt have a feeling for the trajectory of this series and the long odds. At the point where even a portion of the roster settles for what has already been accomplished with this season, the season officially ends. Brind’Amour, Williams, Staal, Faulk and whoever else is feeling positive energy has less than 48 hours to get every player to truly believe that a rebound and series win is possible.   2) Focusing on the next game The challenge of winning four straight games is daunting and intimidating....
Making the case for a Canes rebound

Making the case for a Canes rebound

After consecutive losses in Boston to start off the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hurricanes return to Raleigh for what is as close as you can get to a must-win game that is not an elimination game. After the 6-2 drubbing on Sunday that offered virtually nothing to fuel optimism, one cannot blame Canes fans for feeling a bit negative on the current series. But I think the magnitude of the current down swing measured by mood overstates how dire the situation truly is. Today’s Daily Cup of Joe charts a course to a series rebound. Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes Fanatics Branded 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals Matchup T-Shirt – Heather Gray Price: $27.99 Carolina Hurricanes Fanatics Branded 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bound Body Checking T-Shirt – Red Price: $27.99 Carolina Hurricanes Fanatics Authentic Framed 15" x 17" 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Series Win vs. Washington Capitals Collage Price: $49.99     Acknowledging the need for improvement An important starting point is to acknowledge that the sheer magic of home ice is not by itself the solution. The Hurricanes do need to correct some issues and simply play better. The prioritized list in that regard follows: 1) The Hurricanes need to cut down on costly mistakes. The first goal on Sundaywas a soft one on Mrazek. The turning point in game 1 was a run of penalties and some basic coverage issues on the penalty kill. And in general the Hurricanes have gifted too much to the Bruins through two games. That must end. The Hurricanes need to play a cleaner game that forces the Bruins to...
Parallels of current situation to other series in Hurricanes history

Parallels of current situation to other series in Hurricanes history

As noted in my game recap, the Hurricanes current situation has many parallels to the Capitals series. In both series, the Canes lost the first two games to dig an early hole. But in the Capitals series, the Hurricanes rebounded and never looked back. In addition, the Hurricanes have experience rebounding from a lopsided loss. Against the Capitals, the Hurricanes lost 6-0 but rebounded in the next game to force a game 7. Taking a longer look back in Hurricanes history, the current series looks a bit like two other series.   Rebounding and overcoming a hot goalie I am on record from before this series as saying that a key to the series could be breaking Tuukka Rask. He continues to play incredibly well. The situation reminds me of the second round of the 2002 NHL playoffs. In that round, the Hurricanes matched up against the Montreal Canadiens and a goalie who seemed unbeatable. The Hurricanes won game 1 in that series, but then were stymied by Canadiens netminder Jose Theodore in games 2 and 3. When the Hurricanes were down by three goals late in game 4 and facing a goalie who seemingly was flawless, the chances of a series win seemed minimal. But then it happened. The Miracle at Molson saw the Hurricanes score three times in the third period to force overtime and then pull off the miracle. As significant as the win was, the effect on Theodore was also instrumental in what followed.  From there, the Hurricanes stormed to a 5-1 win in Raleigh and then a resounding 8-2 win in Montreal. Seemingly in...
Make adjustments? Or stay the course heading into game 2?

Make adjustments? Or stay the course heading into game 2?

After losing game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday, the question is whether the Hurricanes just need to stay the course and play a bit better or if there are potential improvements to be had from making adjustments. Though I do think there is room for minor adjustments, I think the meter leans strongly toward just staying the course and playing a bit better on Sunday. As I said following the loss, I think the Hurricanes proved that (at least for stretches) they could do what they needed to do to win.   Stay the course The forecheck and pressure from the second period The majority of the second period was textbook Hurricanes forecheck, pressure and pace, and it yielded the desired results. The Hurricanes scored only once, but that included a few near misses and stout goaltending by Tuukka Rask. So IF the Hurricanes can keep the game to 5-on-5 play, I think they have the formula for what the good version of this series looks like.   The power play The power play tally on the first attempt happened so quickly that one cannot really say that the power play looked good so much as it quickly made one great play. But that is enough. The power play looked good after that too despite not scoring again. If the power play is here to stay, that could be a nice boost for the remainder of the series.   Consider adjustments The penalty kill The penalty kill which started slow but was a strength by the end of the regular season continues to struggle in the...
Canes vs. Bruins Series Preview–Part 3: The Canes win the series if ___; the Canes lose the series if ____

Canes vs. Bruins Series Preview–Part 3: The Canes win the series if ___; the Canes lose the series if ____

Today’s Daily Cup of Joe is part 3 of 3 of a Carolina Hurricanes versus Boston Bruins series preview. Part 1 looked at the series from the Bruins’ side. Part 2 looked at the series from the Hurricanes’ side. Today’s series finale pointedly looks at what I think will be the determining factors in the series.   The Canes will win the series if _____ 1) The forecheck is again effective Two things have been the primary drivers for the Hurricanes success through two rounds. First, the deep and strong blue line has overall been a difference-maker on the defensive side of the puck. Second, the forecheck has fueled an offensive attack that is not super heavy on leadership but rather has relied on balance. More than anything, I think the playoff Hurricanes level of play is directly related to how effective the forecheck is. That especially showed in the first series. The Capitals were better able to beat the Hurricanes forecheck in Washington which mostly gave them the upper hand attacking with speed into the offensive zone. But in Raleigh where the Canes forecheck won out, the scoreboard showed the same. Boston represents a new challenge with a blue line that is pretty steady at the top with a mix of young and old but also is a question mark down at the third pairing. If the Hurricanes can dial up the fast, swarming version of the forecheck and use it to tilt the ice into the offensive zone, they should win this series.   2) Tuukka Rask cracks Coming into this series, Rask is playing at an...