With a solid 6-2 record overall but also two losses in the last three games, today’s Daily Cup of Joe takes a quick look at a couple positive and a couple negative trends.
1) Dougie Hamilton
Despite being a defenseman, Dougie Hamilton is easily one of the team’s most dangerous offensive players right now. In Wednesday’s loss he had three or four decent scoring chances in the first period alone. His fourth forward mentality is a significant boost to the offense, and my assessment is that when Hamilton’s offense thrives it tends to get him fully engaged and also impact his defensive play. He continues to trend positive.
2) Petr Mrazek
It is a short trend of only one game, but Mrazek played easily his best game of the season on Tuesday night. With Reimer being okay not great in his past couple starts which were both losses, timing for Mrazek to get hot might be perfect. The Hurricanes have four neatly spaced out games before the next back-to-back set to start October. If Mrazek can build off of Tuesday’s stellar outing, there is a good chance he will play right through that run.
3) Avoiding losing streaks
One of the key factors in the Hurricanes rise up the standings during the second half of the 2018-19 season was the team’s ability to avoid losing streaks. The 2019-20 Hurricanes have only had to try to rebound after a loss once so far this season, but they did so successfully. Friday represents a chance to keep the positive momentum in terms of that streak and also finish out a three-game trip positively or at least break even with an overtime loss.
1) The penalty kill
The penalty kill was perfect five for five in Tuesday’s win but is only 17 for 23 for 74 percent in the last five games. I actually think those numbers are a bit inflated by the fact that the goaltending has generally been pretty good.
2) Too many penalties
The Carolina Hurricanes have been shorthanded more than any other team in the NHL at 36 times in 8 games. Too many of the penalties including two costly first period goals against on Wednesday have been unnecessary. Andrei Svechnikov, Jordan Staal, Nino Niederreiter and Joel Edmundson are all on target for 80+ penalty minutes in a modern NHL where that means power plays against not offsetting fighting majors.
3) Attention to detail
Early in the season, teams can be a bit sloppy and often get away with it. As most teams are trying to play their way into a regular season rhythm, the margin for error in October can be higher. But as the season rolls on, good teams tend to tighten things up such that the difference between winning and losing can often be a relatively small quantity of big mistakes. In that regard, I do not see the Hurricanes as being significantly better than the start of the season. The Canes are still making too many mistakes in their own end both in terms of coughing the puck up and also defensive zone coverage.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Do you agree or disagree with the recent trends that I have identified?
2) What other trends do you currently see for the Carolina Hurricanes?