With Tuesday’s win over the Montreal Canadiens, the Carolina Hurricanes woke up on Wednesday in a three-way tie for the last two playoff spots (as measured by games above .500). With only one game remaining in November, the team is scheduled to enter December in at least decent position.
Despite the ups and downs already in 2018-19, that is a positive.
Today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a look at what’s ahead schedule-wise for the team.
The first leg out west
After a home game on Friday against Anaheim, the Hurricanes take a week-long jaunt out west to play Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim on the road. After a lackluster first game out west earlier this season, the key is hopping straight into high gear for the winnable first game against a struggling Kings team.
The second leg at home
After the road trip, the Hurricanes play six out of their next seven games at home over a busy two-week stretch leading up to the Christmas break. The stretch features some tough competition in Toronto, Washington, Boston and Pittsburgh (assuming they can put it together). The home-heavy stretch represents arguably the best chance to start the new year in playoff position.
A mixed final leg
After Christmas, the Hurricanes play at Washington and then at New Jersey before a New Year’s Eve tilt at home against Philadelphia.
A friendly next stretch goalie-wise
The next five games are nicely spaced out with no back-to-backs and a couple two-day lay offs to boot. That stretch is favorable to riding the hot hand in Curtis McElhinney. The second half of December features a pair of back-to-backs that could be the next logical point to turn to either Darling or Mrazek.
A road-heavy January
After a decent stretch of home games in December, the Hurricanes play eight out of twelve games on the road in January. That makes December even more critical.
What say you Canes fans?
1) How critical do you think the run of home hockey in mid-December is to the fate of the 2018-19 season?
2) For the 13 games in December, what would be your target record? Do you think the team will achieve that?
3) With the nice spacing for the next few weeks, do you think Brind’Amour will ride McElhinney to the next back-to-back set on December 13 and 14?