Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at the Carolina Hurricanes playoffs so far from a numerical perspective.
Five-game winning streak
At the toughest time of the year to win hockey games, the Carolina Hurricanes now sport an impressive five-game winning streak. That is a total matched only twice during the regular season, once in early January when the team turned the season around and once during the regular season peak at the end of February stretching into March. The Hurricanes are playing their best hockey when it matters most.
Slavin has now racked up 12 assists in only 10 playoff games in the most Jaccob Slavin fashion every kind of quietly just racking up assists. He has scored in six of the Canes seven wins and has four multi-point games. He also leads the team at plus 8 and in ice time averaging a whopping 26:40 per game.
Just how impressive his scoring total is is illustrated by the chart below:
Chalking up 2 more in his @NHLCanes Gm3 win tonight, Jaccob Slavin ties for 4th here with just 3 defencemen having more assists through their team's first 10 games of a #StanleyCup Playoff year pic.twitter.com/r9Q1AZYaTI
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) May 2, 2019
At whatever point it becomes legitimate to discuss Conn-Smythe candidates, we certainly have one entry from the Hurricanes.
Fourth line scoring
I am on record as liking the play of the fourth line right now. Patrick Brown has settled in nicely. By no means is he a dynamic offensive weapon, but he really has not had a costly mistake defensively now through seven games. The same is true for the fourth line in general that has been solid. And based on their offensive zone possession time in recent games, I think the fourth line is overdue for a goal. But at the same time, the group really has not produced offensively. If you start with McKegg and then add in Saku Maenalanen who was a healthy scratch to start the playoffs and also the AHL call ups Patrick Brown, Alexi Saarela and Clark Bishop, the Hurricanes have received exactly zero goals and a lone assist in 26 games. The line very much reminds of Adams/Adams LaRose from the 2006 playoff run. That trio was solid too even if not scoring much. Here is hoping that McKegg’s line is saving up a single scoring outburst for just when the Hurricanes need it.
The original top line
The Hurricanes entered the playoffs with a top scoring line of Niederreiter/Aho/Williams. That trio had slowed a bit down the stretch as Aho’s scoring tailed off, but was still the team’s best scoring line and a dominant force during the turnaround in the middle part of the season. That trio has not played together much in the playoffs since Brind’Amour started shuffling lines. Nonetheless, it is interesting to look at their scoring. That projects to a modest 16 goals and 25 assists (so 41 points) per player over the course of an 82-game season. In addition, none of the three has a power play point in the playoffs. For a team that is maybe a tiny bit light on raw scoring skill, had you told me before the playoffs that Aho, Williams and Niederreiter would only be scoring at that pace, I would have assumed a first round exit. I think the results coupled with underwhelming scoring totals from the top line are a testament to the team’s defense and more significantly the forecheck and its ability to generate balanced scoring.
With Svechnikov and Martinook in the lineup on Wednesday and Ferland seemingly close to a return, the Hurricanes are getting healthier again. But the Hurricanes of 16 forwards used already is a striking number and another testament to the team having capable depth in the system.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Which of these numbers stands out most? Did any of the numbers surprise you?
2) Who has additional statistics on the Hurricanes playoffs thus far?