For a light-hearted election day read, please check out Cory Fogg’s Canes-centric attempt to build a Hurricanes governing team to lead the team back to the playoffs.
After a lackluster 4-1 loss on Sunday in Raleigh against the New Jersey Devils, the Carolina Hurricanes will get a chance for revenge on Tuesday in New Jersey. Whereas the first game was a match up of backup goalies, Tuesday will likely see starters Cam Ward and Cory Schneider face off against one another. The Hurricanes are also expected to be minus Justin Faulk who was injured midway through the third period on Sunday. The morning skate should provide confirmation on Faulk’s status.
Tuesday’s game finds the Hurricanes in the familiar position of battling a bit of adversity and needing a win to avoid falling too far behind the back. The Hurricanes enter the game in last place in the Eastern Conference, but per my Daily Cup of Joe post today, the situation might not be quite as bad as it feels. The short version is that a win Tuesday pulls the Hurricanes up to 3-3-3 in their road-heavy schedule which is roughly ‘good enough’ and sees the Hurricanes return to Raleigh for 5 straight home games to try to improve that side of the slate.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New Jersey Devils
1) The Faulk-less blue line
Justin Faulk is obviously a big loss for the Hurricanes lineup. The morning skate should provide an early indication of how Peters will fill Faulk’s top 4 slot. If I was coaching the team, I would move Ron Hainsey to the right side (he played there some last season) to make room for a top 4 audition for Noah Hanifin. Regardless of how Peters reconfigures the lineup, the Hurricanes need to be better on defense than they were on Sunday and have been too often so far this season.
2) Return to scoring ways
Among the big list of struggles out of the gate, scoring was not 1 of them. Skinner/Rask/Stempniak started hot and so did the power play which actually masked the fact that depth scoring that was not driven through the power play was light. Over the past 3 games, the Hurricanes have mustered only 1, 2 and 1 goals and seen the power play sputter. The list of players who seem capable of more is a big one right now at forward. Can Bill Peters find some combinations that work and drive a second leg up offensively through a broader group of players? Or is this team forced to hop on Jeff Skinner’s back and hope that he is enough (which he has been in some games) for victory?
3) (Cut and paste)…The goalie
Cam Ward looks to return to net. As much discontent as I have about the Hurricanes goalie situation right now, I would do the same given the 2 current options. Ward has actually been ‘good enough’ in 3 of his last 4 starts and just might be starting to climb his way into the 2016-17 season. With the Hurricanes facing Cory Schneider and a pretty stingy Devils defense at their rink, Ward will need to be good for his team to have a chance.
The puck drops at 7pm on Fox Sports Carolinas with John, Tripp and Mike.