All of a sudden the Carolina Hurricanes 2019-20 season is 30 games deep and quickly approaching the midway point that will be reached just after the calendar flips against the Capitals on January 3.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at where the Hurricanes are through 30 games.
Pace and trajectory
The Hurricanes 37 points in 30 games projects to a pace of 101 points. Historically, 95-96 points has been good enough to win the final wild card slot, but lately that number seems to be pushing upward. The trajectory is also positive if one considers a fairly short history. The team has won two straight and also nine out of thirteen.
Place in the standings
The Hurricanes currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Adjusted for games played (using points above .500), the Hurricanes currently have a three point lead over the New York Rangers who sit in the ninth spot.
Despite being fifth in the Metropolitan Division, the third spot and avoiding Boston and Washington in the first round is easily within reach. The #3 Flyers are up only two points on the Hurricanes and the #4 Penguins are up only one point. So a win or two coupled with Flyers and Penguins losses could see the Hurricanes move up two places in the standings.
Compared to 2018-19
At this point last season, the Hurricanes were 13-11-4. So the current record is seven points better. In addition, the team was in the midst of a December slide that would finish with a 4-8-1 record that dug a pretty big hole heading into January.
The path forward
I think the remainder of December is a critical stretch. Despite being in a good position right now, the margin for error is still small, and I think the remaining December schedule presents some risk. The team plays five straight on the road against Western Conference teams that are generally playing well right now. After that the Hurricanes face the holiday season that can sometimes get off kilter with the lack of the usual routine. That stretch also features two games against the division-leading Capitals.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Had someone offered you 37 points through 30 games and fifth place in the Metropolitan Division before the season started, would you have taken it?
2) What do you expect for the upcoming road trip and the remainder of December?
3) What is your prediction for where the Hurricanes finish in the standings?