One might figure that the Hurricanes have been firing on all cylinders to start the 2021-22 season based on the perfect 4-0-0 start, but I actually do not see that as being the case. On the offensive side of the puck, the Hurricanes have been finishing at a high rate more so than just completely dominating play, and on the defensive side of the puck, Frederik Andersen’s play in the last three games has made the team look better than it deserved defensively.
By no means am I suggesting that the Hurricanes have not played well thus far, but I do still think there is room for improvement. That is the focus of today’s Daily Cup of Joe.
Puck management advancing the puck up the ice
Despite winning and a good goals against total, I actually think the Hurricanes blue line has been intermittently sloppy defensively especially with regard to safely advancing the puck out of the defensive zone. Andersen erased four or five bad turnovers that led directly to high-quality scoring chances against in Saturday’s win, and that problem has been there in previous games too.
Blue line scoring
Despite the team scoring at a good pace, offense from the blue line has been slow to materialize. The defensemen have not scored a single goal yet, and also have only six assists at even strength. It is very early in the season, but could Dougie Hamilton have placed an Arturs Irbe-like departure curse on the team?
Much like stretches of the 2020-21 season, the Hurricanes are giving up too many power play opportunities again. The penalty kill has been a strength for the team, but that is not a well that a team wants to go back to too often.
Closing out wins strong
The Hurricanes have been good at running out to leads that make the game seem safe but have not been great about finishing strong. Too much, they have pulled up a bit short of 60 minutes and relied on Frederik Andersen to hold the fort without enough help in the latter part of the third period.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you agree with my areas for improvement despite the 4-0-0 start?
2) What, if anything, would you add to the list?