‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm60 Vs. NJ: Canes seek rebound after two losses plus revenge on the Devils

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm60 Vs. NJ: Canes seek rebound after two losses plus revenge on the Devils

The #CanesCoaster continues it tumultuous ride. After a pair of wins last weekend and a resounding 7-3 victory on Tuesday to rise to new highs, the team has since turned back down with two losses to Metropolitan Division foes and teams also in the playoff chase. What a difference a couple days can make this time of year. With a win over the Devils on Thursday night, the Hurricanes could leap-frogged them into fourth place in the Metropolitan and the first wild card slot. But with a loss and another that followed to the Islanders on Friday coupled with another Devils win on Saturday, the Hurricanes will enter Sunday’s rematch suddenly five points behind the Devils and on the wrong side of playoff cut line. But despite the two-game losing streak, with a win on Sunday the Hurricanes could emerge back in a playoff spot if the Blue Jackets lose on Sunday.   A couple interesting story lines 1) The lineup. Coach Bill Peters has already said that Haydn Fleury will step back into the lineup in place of Klas Dahlbeck which is fairly standard fare with the two swapping in and out fairly regularly. More interesting could be a second development. The Hurricanes returned Patrick Brown to the AHL and recalled Lucas Wallmark. On the one hand, it seems odd that the team would swap AHLers if Peters intends to just healthy scratch the player anyway. On the other hand, I would have guessed that the Hurricanes would have recalled Wallmark in time to practice with the team on Saturday if he was expected to play on Sunday....
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm59 Vs. NYI: Canes seek bounce back in another Metro match up against the Islanders

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm59 Vs. NYI: Canes seek bounce back in another Metro match up against the Islanders

After a solid three-game winning streak, the Hurricanes hit a bump in the road on Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. A tough night for Scott Darling in net and a ‘meh’ at best game from the skaters led to a 5-2 loss. As I said in my recap for that game, the key this time of year is to bounce back quickly. The Hurricanes were not going to win out and a few clunkers are inevitable. But getting quickly back into the win column is important especially when the opponent is another playoff hopeful. And that is what is on the slate for Friday. Both the Hurricanes and Islanders played and traveled last night, so today’s game shapes up as what I call a fair back-to-back. The game will also decide playoff position at least for now, as the Hurricanes are currently up only a single point on the Islanders. Adding to the excitement is the recent history of the two teams playing some wild high-scoring games.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Islanders 1) Skating legs given the back-to-back As noted above, the back-to-back is at least a fair one given that both teams played and traveled last night. But it still adds an element of uncertainty. Last weekend, the Canes played well in the second half of a back-to-back and swept the set. A week earlier, the Hurricanes were lackluster, slow, sluggish and everything else bad in losing the second half of a back-to-back to the Red Wings. So especially early and late in Friday’s game, I will be...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm58 @NJ: Canes try to carry winning ways into critical Metro match up against New Jersey

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm58 @NJ: Canes try to carry winning ways into critical Metro match up against New Jersey

Only eight days ago, the Carolina Hurricanes hockey community woke up after another deflating loss even if in overtime and with a three-game losing streak. After a two-win start to the long eight-game home stand the Hurricanes were suddenly five games deep and with a meager 2-2-1 record that was not good enough. But true to form, the #CanesCoaster then did a 180. The Hurricanes have since won three straight against Western Conference foes and closed out the home stand with a respectable and productive 5-2-1 record. Next up is the lone road game mixed in with 11 out of 12 games at home. My target was 9 wins and 3 losses for for the 12-game stretch that started on January 30, so while 5-2-1 is not bad, the team still has work to do. And the importance level is double for the final four games since all four are against teams that are part of the group competing with the Hurricanes for a playoff spot. The game is against the New Jersey Devils which is significant on multiple fronts. First and foremost, the Devils are currently up only a single point on the Hurricanes (but with one game in hand), so this is very much a four-point game against a fellow playoff contender. In addition, the Devils enter the game struggling a bit with a 4-6 record in their past 10 games. In addition to collecting two points of their own and giving the Devils zero, the game could further fuel New Jersey’s current descent down the standings. Finally, with the odd NHL scheduling, these teams have yet...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm57 Vs. LA: Canes aim to maintain playoff position and run win streak to three against the Kings

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm57 Vs. LA: Canes aim to maintain playoff position and run win streak to three against the Kings

After a three-game skid that included two completely lackluster efforts, a Bill Peters’ tirade in a post-game press conference and an all too familiar feeling that the season was ending early, the Hurricanes rebounded this past weekend with a pair of wins. And just like that the Hurricanes are back in playoff position and the outlook for the 2017-18 is at least potentially bright. I would not categorize the two wins as dominant, but they were impressive because of the high level of play pretty much across the board. Both goalies played well. The defense righted the ship and was sound. The compete level returned after a few games off during the previous weekend. And the offense suddenly looked capable even if not dynamic. More significant than ratings on level of play is the simple fact that the team really needed to right the ship and collect points before the season slipped away. So after entering last week with a feeling of despair, the team concluded the week with a solid 2-0-1 record and now enters the current week with a positive vibe and some momentum.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Los Angeles Kings Against that backdrop, here is what I am watching for the Carolina Hurricanes battle against the Kings on Tuesday. 1) Foot still on the gas Even though the Hurricanes lost in overtime on Tuesday, the game did offer a much-needed change in terms of pace, intensity and compete level. That higher gear carried forward into the weekend and resulted in two wins. After a couple days off to digest the wins,...
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm56 Vs. Clr: Canes take on Avs seeking to build on Friday’s win

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm56 Vs. Clr: Canes take on Avs seeking to build on Friday’s win

The Hurricanes picked up a much-needed win on Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks. The victory stopped a tough losing streak at three games. But what it did not do, by itself anyway, was generate any meaningful success. What it did was put the ball on the tee for that to be accomplished on Saturday night. With a win, the Hurricanes have a perfect 2-0 weekend. With a loss, Friday’s win is quickly converted to another treading water 1-1 weekend which just is not good enough during the current stretch with the team working through a run of home games. Justin Williams succinctly said: Justin Williams: "The game means nothing tonight if you don't win tomorrow. You've gotta follow up stuff and we need to string some wins together." — Cory Lavalette (@corylav) February 10, 2018 The game represents a sizable challenge in two respects: 1) A back-to-back against a rested team. Last week, the Hurricanes faced a rested Detroit Red Wings team at home as the second half of a back-to-back set. The Wings skated circles around a sluggish Hurricanes squad and the game was never even close. The situation is the same tomorrow with Colorado coming into the game rested. 2) A match up against a good hockey team. In their last dozen games, the Hurricanes are 0-5-1 against teams with better than .500 records, and 5-1-0 in games against teams with less than .500 records. The Avalanche sit in sixth place in the lights out Central Division but are a good hockey team that has three more points than the Hurricanes with two games in hand....
‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm55 Vs. Van: v3.0…Canes try to right the ship against the Vancouver Canucks

‘What I’m Watching’ — Gm55 Vs. Van: v3.0…Canes try to right the ship against the Vancouver Canucks

After consecutive home wins coming out of the All-Star break, the Hurricanes laid an egg in game three against the Detroit Red Wings. Since then the Hurricanes have tried and failed twice to right the ship. On Sunday, another lackluster effort met the losing fate that it deserved and also a post-game tirade from Coach Bill Peters. Tuesday offered a bunch of talk about changes after the weekend losses but only minor shuffling of bottom lineup spots and another loss (at least in overtime for a consolation point). So Friday sets up as try #3 at turning things back around. This time, more significant changes seem imminent. Peters has already stated that Scott Darling will start in net, and by midday Friday, the team should have one if not two AHL recalls in tow to replace Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris who were put on waivers on Thursday. With the fun of losses and the precious stretch of home hockey slipping away without much progress, Friday’s game again offers a high degree of urgency.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Vancouver Canucks 1) Scott Darling With Scott Darling back in net, goaltending jumps from its usual #2 slot up to #1. With the team sputtering and Cam Ward seemingly coming down from his hot streak, the timing is ripe for Darling to find his game, take the reins and become the goalie that the Hurricanes thought they had acquired in April. It is hard to know what to expect from Darling at this point. His last outing which was the 4-1 loss to Detroit was...