Gm32 Vs. Clu: Canes ride stellar outing from Scott Darling to win over Jackets and 3-game winning streak

Gm32 Vs. Clu: Canes ride stellar outing from Scott Darling to win over Jackets and 3-game winning streak

First and foremost, the Hurricanes picked up another win on Saturday. The victory runs the teams streak to three and also pushes their record to 3-2-2 through seven out of nine games during the road-heavy December stretch. My goal at the beginning was a 5-4 mark which now takes only a split of two road games next week to accomplish. Second and nearly as importantly, Scott Darling was stellar in the win. He rightfully won the first star, outplayed a Vezina-worth opposing goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky and was the best play in the ice when the Hurricanes needed. His role in the win was significant. If this proves to be a turning point in Darling’s 2017-18 season, the win will be even more significant.   The 2017-18 roller coaster The roller coaster ride continues at a dizzying pace. In the wee hours of the night, the team was wrapping up a loss to Anaheim that pushed its record on the road trip to a meager 0-2-2 and the team’s overall record down to .500. I do not think it was a gross overstatement to say that the team’s season was slipping away. But after grinding out too gutsy even if not pretty wins past regulation the road and then returning home to be a good and rested Columbus Blue Jackets team on Saturday, the team is suddenly trending up again. The Canes are now three games above .500, within three points of a playoff spot (adjusting for games played) and on a winning streak.   Saturday’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Roller coaster ride aside, the game was...
Gm31 @Buf: Canes finish road trip by gutting out a win against the Buffalo Sabres

Gm31 @Buf: Canes finish road trip by gutting out a win against the Buffalo Sabres

Just like the rest of the road trip, it wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy, but the result in the finale was what the team needed. In a strange game that featured some of the most boring hockey of the entire season (the second period) followed immediately by one of the wildest periods of hockey all year in the third period, the Hurricanes fought their way to a 5-4 overtime win and a respectable 2-2-2 record for the long six-game road trip. As has generally been the case even in the disappointing games, the Hurricanes played a decent first period but really were not rewarded for it. The Sabres seemed to find their way into the game courtesy of a couple power plays that jolted them to life despite not netting goals. With both teams having a poor track record in the second period, it played out almost as if both teams were trying to cautiously slide past it without incident. The Hurricanes scored first when Justin Williams banged in a rebound, but the Sabres answered in short order when Jack Eichel scored the first of his three goals. The period ended 1-1 probably with many a fan dozing off after a couple late nights earlier in the week. But for every bit that the second period was boring, the third period was exhilarating even if not necessarily of the highest quality. Buffalo pushed up 2-1, but Jordan Staal scored a big answer goal to quickly make it 2-2. From there, the Hurricanes ran out to a 4-2 lead seemingly on their way to coasting to a win. Then...
Gm30 @Veg: Canes net gutsy win in first trip to Las Vegas for Cam Ward’s 300th win

Gm30 @Veg: Canes net gutsy win in first trip to Las Vegas for Cam Ward’s 300th win

As luck would have it, I was pulled away for family stuff midway through the last of the west coast part of the Canes road trip and watched the second half of the game on DVR even later than the regular schedule. Like many other Hurricanes fans, I will be happy to be back in the Eastern time zone this weekend but am happy I stayed up for the western finale.   Above all else… …The Hurricanes desperately needed a win of any kind, so the result is HUGE. With the Hurricanes sputtering on the road, and the majority of the Metropolitan Division playing well, the season was starting to slide down the hill. The Hurricanes know from recent experience just how hard it is to make up too much ground in January through April if you dig a hole, and digging a hole is exactly what they have been doing of late.  At least on Tuesday, the Hurricanes were able to dig a foot into the ground and at least temporarily halt the slide. Everything else is minutiae compared to the top line result at a time like this.   Cam Ward wins #300 The other big headline is Cam Ward earning his 300th career win which is an impressive milestone and even cooler when one considers that all of those wins have been in a Hurricanes uniform. Ironic that win #300 came via shootout win just like win #1 many years ago.   The game itself The game was a gutsy effort by the team. Having played and traveled the night before, Vegas entered with a physical...
Gm29 @Ana: Canes out-shoot opponent but face hot goalie and lose to the Ducks

Gm29 @Ana: Canes out-shoot opponent but face hot goalie and lose to the Ducks

With the recent run of Hurricanes struggles coming exclusively with 10pm or later start times, there is quite literally no rest for the weary as a Carolina Hurricanes fan right now. The latest episode featured a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in front of an outstanding night for their goalie John Gibson. The game started fortuitously enough with Justin Williams going to the front of the net and scoring early when he tipped a Trevor van Riemsdyk shot past Gibson. Unfortunately, that would be the end of the Hurricanes scoring. The loss featured many common elements of other losses. The game in total was not horrible. Be it because of the opposing goaltending (which was a legitimate factor on Monday night), lack of finishing or a lack of time spent in the crease area, the Hurricanes came up short scoring-wise. The game was not the defensive train wreck of last Thursday’s collapse in San Jose, but it did feature a handful of ‘big oopses’ that played heavily in the outcome. The first goal occurred when Justin Faulk tried to step up at the defensive blue line but whiffed giving Anaheim a 2-on-1 opportunity. Then Darling had the puck trickle through him. Finally, the puck was tapped home by a player who got behind Faulk on the way to the net. The second goal was just plain unfortunate when Haydn Fleury had some combination of losing his balance and mishandling the puck at center ice and more or less handed the puck off for an Anaheim breakaway and goal. When the Ducks beat a stick-less Scott Darling to make...
Gm28 @LA: Late night road woes continue against Kings but again with OTL point

Gm28 @LA: Late night road woes continue against Kings but again with OTL point

Through three games of the six-game road trip, the luckiest Canes fans are the non-night owls who do not stay up for the 10 and 10:30pm starts. Those who have taken to late-night coffee to make it through 1am-ish finishes have yet to really be rewarded for their dedication. For the second consecutive game, the Hurricanes did pick up an overtime loss point, but right now it just does not feel like half of a win. As for the game itself, not unlike many games the Hurricanes started okay. That said, I actually thought that the first 13-14 minutes of the first period were what I have come to call “the bad version of good” that features the Hurricanes winning in terms of puck possession, shots and everything else that they seem to win every game but really not converting it to enough good scoring chances. More importantly, I did not think the good guys had much for real scoring chances with people near the crease for rebounds, screens, deflections and all of the other non-glamorous stuff that greatly increases the chance of scoring. But the Hurricanes did break through in that regard in the last five or six minutes of the period with grade A chances from Sebastian Aho who was robbed, a Justin Williams whiff from point blank range and another good scoring chance by Brock McGinn. When the dust settled on the first period, the Canes had nothing to show for being the better team and faced the dreaded second period with no margin for error. True to form, the Hurricanes lost the second period by...
Gm27 @SJ: Roller coaster ride continues with nausea-inducing result in 5-4 overtime loss to San Jose

Gm27 @SJ: Roller coaster ride continues with nausea-inducing result in 5-4 overtime loss to San Jose

Through two periods of hockey, Thursday was on track to be a doubly good day for Carolina Hurricanes hockey. First, news broke from the NHL Board of Governors meeting that Peter Karmanos had signed a purchase agreement to purchase a majority interest in the Carolina Hurricanes. The deal still needs league approval, but this time around the money is there and terms have been agreed to which makes the probability very high that the deal will close. Then on Thursday night, the Hurricanes were on their way to a much-needed win to claw back to a respectable 1-1 record through the first third of the six-game road trip. And then all of a sudden, they weren’t. Coming out of a lackluster loss on Tuesday in Vancouver, Coach Bill Peters shuffled the deck swapping Klas Dahlbeck in for Haydn Fleury and completely revamping the forward lines. The new combinations worked instantly. The game featured a well-timed bout of a fast scoring start for the Hurricanes. As beleaguered as the Hurricanes offense has been at times during the 2017-18 season, the team has also had a knack for flying out of the gate on occasion and posting an early lead on the way to a win. The game felt a bit like similar wins over the Oilers, the Maple Leafs and the Islanders that saw similar scoring outbursts early in the game. A couple nifty passing plays staked the Hurricanes to an early 3-0 lead. First, Noah Hanifin had another heady offensive play from between the face-off circles which is becoming his office in the offensive zone. He fed Sebastian Aho at...