With only 17 games remaining, today’s Daily Cup of Joe breaks down the rest of the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2018-19 regular season schedule.
Two weeks of recharge and road trip (5 games)
Coming out of the road win at Florida on Saturday, the Hurricanes have an odd stretch of schedule with a healthy helping of off days but also two pairs of back-to-backs. The teams plays only four times in 12 days from March 3 to March 14. But the level of competition dials up. Three of the the opponents (Boston, Nashville, Winnipeg) are certain playoff teams, and the fourth (Colorado) is still in the hunt. The stretch has three different runs of two or more off days which is odd in March. A fifth game also on the road against Columbus finishes off this stretch.
After lacking energy and any kind of jump against Florida in the second half of a back-to-back and having four more back-to-back sets for 8 out of the 17 remaining games, the lighter stretch of schedule over the next two weeks could be critical to recharging for the stretch run.
Home sweet home with a bunch of four-point games (8 games)
After the stretch of five out of six on the road, a long home stretch starts with the second half of a back-to-back. The Hurricanes then play four straight and seven out of eight at home. In that mix are four Metropolitan Division games including a home and home against the Capitals. There is also a game against fellow wild card contender Montreal. The first game is the second half of a back-to-back, but after that the Canes play exactly every other day for 7 straight games.
With the volume of home games and match ups against division foes, I really think this stretch of eight games is where the season is decided. If the Hurricanes continue to play well and can take advantage of home ice, virtually no travel and an every other day rhythm, I think this when they seize a playoff berth. If instead, the Hurricanes run out of gas and falter here, making up ground afterward will be tough.
On the road to finish up (4 games)
The Hurricanes then finish the season with three of four games on the road. The first game against the Penguins could be a huge game #79 if the standings are similar. That last week does feature a home game against New Jersey for game #81 and a road tilt in Philadelphia to close out the season. Hopefully, the Flyers will stay outside the playoff chase making both of those games against teams mostly playing out the string at that point.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Which stretch of 3-5 games will be most critical in determining the outcome of the Hurricanes 2018-19 regular season?
2) Of the schedule ahead which stretch most concerns you?