‘What I’m watching’ — Gm59 Vs. Nas: With moms in tow, Canes take on Preds in Music City

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm59 Vs. Nas: With moms in tow, Canes take on Preds in Music City

After losing in overtime in game 1 of the mom’s trip, the Hurricanes will play game 2 in Nashville after what was certainly a fun Monday. Aside from the family fun, another two points in the standings are available and obviously critical this time of year. In today’s Daily Cup of Joe, I handicapped the playoff competition in what is a crowded race for the last four playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. With the Blue Jackets and Flyers who sit just above the Canes in the standings going head-to-head on Tuesday and again on Thursday, the Canes can definitely climb the standings ladder if they can win this week. The opponent is a Nashville Predators team that is also scratching and clawing for every point they can get. The Predators are currently three points out of a wild card spot but have three and four games in hand respectively over the two current wild card teams. The Predators are also trending upward with three straight wins. On the Canes side of the ledger, the team continues to be up and down. Struggling to play sound games capable of squeaking out low-scoring wins on lesser nights, the Canes tend to be feast or famine right now. Either the team scores in bunches and wins in dramatic fashion, or the team gives up too much and loses. My watch points for Thursday’s match up follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Nashville Predators 1) The top line Regardless of the ups and downs, the best thing going right now in the Cania-verse is the line of Sebastian...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm58 Vs. Edm: Canes seek follow up win against McDavid-less Oilers

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm58 Vs. Edm: Canes seek follow up win against McDavid-less Oilers

After a strong win on Friday against the New Jersey Devils, the Hurricanes will try to follow it up with a second home win on Sunday against the Oilers. With a win, the Hurricanes are 2-0 and gain ground in the playoff chase. With a regulation loss, the team disappointingly treads water with a 1-1 mark over two home games. Put another way, the past counts little, and every two points matters. On Sunday, the Hurricanes will face an Oilers team that is without Connor McDavid (boo!) and Zack Kassian (yay!) in an odd 4pm start after the Oilers played and traveled on Saturday. Edmonton enters the game in second place in the Pacific Division in a tightly-bunched Western Conference playoff race and with wins in three of their last four games. With the win on Friday and a Flyers’ loss on Saturday, the Hurricanes can move back into a tie for the final Eastern Conference wild card slot importantly with a game in hand. The Canes have been up and down of late, so building a winning streak to even two and pushing back into playoff position would be a huge win. My watch points follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Edmonton Oilers 1) The top line The greatest show on ice these days continues to be Teravainen/Aho/Svechnikov. The trio did not collect a massive haul on the score sheet on Friday, but it was good nonetheless and could have had more. On Sunday, I will be watching to see if the Canes top line can continue being the best line on the...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm57 Vs. NJ: Canes try to get over the hump against Metro in match up versus the Devils

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm57 Vs. NJ: Canes try to get over the hump against Metro in match up versus the Devils

Yesterday I detailed what is a fairly difficult remaining schedule for the Carolina Hurricanes.  The probability of running into a few nights that are just tough sledding make it even more important for the Canes to capitalize on favorable match ups. On paper, Friday’s game at home against a New Jersey Devils team that is below them in the standings and mostly playing for draft lottery position would appear to be just such a game. But the Devils enter playing pretty good hockey having won three of their last four games. More significantly, the Hurricanes have been abysmal against Metropolitan Division foes below them in the standings with a 1-7-1 record including a loss to New Jersey. The inability to beat the bottom half of the division right now has a good chance of being identified as the greatest fatal flaw if the Canes miss the playoffs. The Hurricanes enter the game with decent results on a 2-2 road trip but still a feeling that something is off. The team too regularly has been outplayed and pulled out points via crazy heroics and not steady play. In that regard, Friday represents yet another chance to put a stake in the sand and chart a course forward that includes steadier play from period to period and game to game. My watch points follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New Jersey Devils 1) The top line Even in the most recent loss, the top line has been stellar. The question is if/how long Brind’Amour will be able to leave them together if the rest of the...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm56 @Dal: Canes seek to end road roller coaster on a high against the Stars

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm56 @Dal: Canes seek to end road roller coaster on a high against the Stars

Through three games on the current western swing, the Carolina Hurricanes have seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The trip started with a rough 6-3 loss in St. Louis. After falling behind against the Coyotes and Golden Knights, the Hurricanes stormed back for two fun wins including arguably the wildest of the 2019-20 season in Ls Vegas on Saturday. Even with a loss on Tuesday, a 2-2 mark in four road games against teams competing for playoff spots would not be bad. But with so many teams in the fray in the Eastern Conference playoff chase and generally playing well, the 2-1 mark on the road trip still sees the Hurricanes two points out of a playoff spot but with a game in hand. A win gets them back to the last wild card slot courtesy of the tiebreaker when they wake up on Wednesday in Raleigh. The opponent is a Dallas Stars team also with much to play for. The Stars currently sit in third place in the Central Division but with a slip gap between that and the draft lottery at ninth place in the conference. Both teams are at the stage of the season where every point matters which usually makes for hard-fought hockey games. My watch points follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Dallas Stars 1) Continuation of determination In Saturday’s win, the Hurricanes were outplayed through two periods but rose up for a feisty and determined period that was enough to get into overtime and ultimately claim a shootout win. On Tuesday, I will be...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm55 @Veg: Canes seek to build on fun win over Arizona in tilt against the Golden Knights

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm55 @Veg: Canes seek to build on fun win over Arizona in tilt against the Golden Knights

On Thursday, the Hurricanes picked up a much-needed, fun, bounce back win against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. The game was significant following a rough loss in St. Louis on Tuesday, and this time of year anytime a team gets two points, it is a good day. But buried beneath a good number of positives in my game recap, I was not as positive on the quality of the win as the general party line after a fun win. I wrote: Not to be underestimated this time of year is the importance of getting two points any way possible. And that rings true even more so after a rough outing like Tuesday. That said, I think that Caniacs will awake Friday possibly making more of Thursday’s win in terms of righting some wrongs. Unfortunately, I think this win was more about overcoming issues than correcting them. The Canes again dug a hole and had to climb out of it. The team also took multiple offensive zone penalties one of which proved costly with a power play goal against and the other which was late in the game and could have been catastrophic. And the third period once the team was up two goals was a bit of a mess despite ending well. Up 4-2, Jake Gardiner got caught watching the puck a bit, such that a Coyotes player ended up alone at the side of the net on his side of the ice for a goal against. Five minutes later Brett Pesce thwarted a 2-on-1 when Gardiner got caught up ice. Five minutes later Gardiner got worked over stopping...
‘What I’m watching’ — Gm54 @Ari: Up and down Canes again seek to rebound against Coyotes

‘What I’m watching’ — Gm54 @Ari: Up and down Canes again seek to rebound against Coyotes

After another disappointing effort resulting in a 6-3 thrashing at the hands of the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues, the Hurricanes will again seek to rebound and chart a course upward. Per today’s Daily Cup of Joe that had a ‘state of the Canes’, I am on record as thinking that this team will need to find a higher gear to emerge from the playoff dog fight with a post-season berth. But at this time of year, things can also just be as simple as finding a way to get two points in the next game. Either of those sides of the coin has the Canes seeking an important win in Arizona on Thursday night. The Arizona Coyotes enter the game in the middle of the playoff hunt and currently above the cut line but also trying to right the ship after a continued slide. Arizona is only 2-5-3 since January 9 including a 3-0 loss to the Canes on January 10. As is often the case this time of year the game features two opponents who desperately need the points. For the Hurricanes, Thursday’s game already marks the second ‘need a big rebound’ game in only four games since the All-Star break. The team responded well after a disappointing loss to Vegas with a quality win over Vancouver. The Canes will try to do the same after a disappointing loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. My watch points follow.   ‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Arizona Coyotes 1) Another rebound When this appears regularly in the watch points, it means a team is...