On Saturday night in Ottawa, the Carolina Hurricanes will take on a Senators team that is 5-9-1 so far this season. Very recently, this game might have been looked at as a routine win over a lesser team and maybe a game that people looked past on the scheduled. But with the Hurricanes mired in a three-game losing streak but in my opinion possibly on the cusp of breaking through in a significant way, I think Saturday’s match up is the most intriguing so far this season.
The 2019-20 season in total
The Hurricanes have been modestly successful in total during the 2019-20 season, but with a 4-6-1 mark after a 5-0 start have given back half of the ground they earned above .500. The formula for most of the points in the standings has been just being better than other teams skill-wise. The wins have largely been characterized by bursts of scoring and strong play. Mostly missing from the wins is any semblance of just grinding to a hard-fought win on a tough night. I think it would be reasonably fair to say that the Hurricanes have either won easily or not won at all this season.
Despite the early winning I think the team is still minus an identity and repeatable formula for success.
The current trajectory
And as I already mentioned, the current losing streak is three game.
So in that regard, the game is significant just in terms of stopping the bleeding before too much ground is given up.
But on the positive side, I really think the Rangers game was unique in terms of the level of determination and work ethic displayed by the Hurricanes. Shortly after Thursday’s loss I tweeted:
Post is open for reader comments. Recap/notes will follow a bit later=> https://t.co/wuktbkzBgj
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) November 8, 2019
Despite the loss, I think the Hurricanes exit Thursday’s loss at a peak for the young season in terms of playing with a level of determination and effort. The first period against the Rangers was phenomenal and arguably the team’s best if considering only level of play and not scoring production. So I think Thursday’s game has the potential to become a stake in the sand in terms of reviving the effort-driven wins that were integral to the 2018-19 success.
The team enters on a negative streak with three straight losses but at the same time with the ability to build on arguably the best game of the year in terms of effort.
The potential for Saturday’s game
After doing things mostly the right way on Thursday but not receiving results, I think Saturday can go one of two ways. Best would be if the Hurricanes are able to double down on raw effort and use that to grind to a win the hard way. The other possibility is that the lack of success on Thursday causes the team to deviate from that hard-working style of play. In that regard, I think the combination of Thursday’s and Saturday’s games has the potential to be a turning point for the entire season.
Saturday could prove to be a turning point for the entire season.
The optimal result
With three straight losses, the Canes will obviously accept any kind of win on Saturday against Ottawa. That would include an easy win that capitalizes on the fact that the Canes are the better team. But I think ideal would actually be an ugly 2-1 or similar win that requires the Hurricanes to double down on the effort from Thursday but this time grind out a hard-fought win. I think that reminder of what it can take to win in the NHL on many nights would be an invaluable experience for the 2019-20 Carolina Hurricanes.
Better than an easy win might be a difficult win that requires the team to power through with sheer effort.
What say you Canes fans?
1) What are your thoughts on the significance of Saturday’s game?
2) Does anyone else feel after Thursday’s game that the Carolina Hurricanes could be on the cusp of a meaningful transition for the 2019-20 season?
3) Who has other thoughts on the current trajectory of the Hurricanes?