I spent most of my writing time and energy writing part 2 of ‘7D in 7 days’ covering Ryan Murphy.
With October in the rearview mirror without season-ending consequences, what do the Canes need to do for a home-heavy November to stay in the playoff chase into December?
Rough playoff math goes like this:
- Get half the points on the road (so 41 points out of 82 in 41 games on the road).
- Get two-thirds of the points at home (so 54 points out of 82 in 41 games at home).
When you add those up, you get 95 points. Last year was an anomaly I think because so many teams had so much more incentive to lose come March because of the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes, but that number is generally at least close.
The Carolina Hurricanes actually enter November on target on the road at 4-4 but not so with a 1-2 home record (now 1-3 with a loss to start November). So entering the month, the Canes were minus 2 points (needed 4 out of 6 at home).
November offers a Raleigh-heavy slate of 9 home games and 4 road games, so the target pace would be an 8-5 record. With a loss already on November 1, the Canes target is now an 8-4 record. One can try to figure it out by looking at opponents and trying to decide outcomes for individual games, but it really comes down to finding a rhythm and finding a couple short runs of wins just like last week.
I think the key ingredients on the ice are:
1) Continued strong play in net
Strong netminding gives teams a chance most nights.
2) Sound defensive play
This was a common theme during the 3-game winning streak but was not there against the Lightning. If a team gets #1 and #2, it is generally in games with a chance to pick up points.
3) Find a hot hand or 2
Things get much easier when a line starts clicking and puts up goals on a nightly basis. Right now, EStaal/Rask/Versteeg is the closest to a hot hand, but there anyone is welcome.
4) Find the power play
The penalty kill seems to be rounding into form. Here is hoping that 4 days of practice can help the team find the path to an occasional well-timed power play goal.