With consecutive home wins, the Carolina Hurricanes closed out arguably the team’s strongest October in history. The 2019-20 season is still very young, but the team is very clearly on pace for the playoffs.
The November schedule seems to offer tail winds in terms of maintaining that pace or even building a cushion. On October 23, I detailed the friendly stretch of schedule ahead. The run of schedule up until Thanksgiving does feature a couple teams playing well in 2019-20, but none of the opponents made the playoffs in 2018-19.
But NHL games are not decided based on place in the standings. They are decided on the ice. And on any given night in the NHL one team or more which is theoretically the better team will lose. So the theme for much of November will be that the Hurricanes are playing a game that they should win but that they need to show up and do the work to make that happen.
Friday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings is exactly that. The Red Wings are on a bit of an upswing with a two-game point streak with an overtime loss against the Blues and a win over the Oilers. But prior to that the Wings had lost seven straight with five of those losses by three goals or more.
My watch points for Friday’s match up follow.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Detroit Red Wings
1) Attack early
The Red Wings should enter the game with more confidence than the team has had in multiple weeks. Ideal would be for the Hurricanes to pounce early, jump out to a lead and remind the Red Wings that they are not a very good hockey team so far in 2019-20. This game has the potential to set the tone for the entire month. I will be watching closely to see if the Hurricanes show up expecting to win in a lazy way or if they instead show up with an attacking mentality that seeks to seize the opportunity in front of them.
2) Petr Mrazek
He has put together what in my opinion is his first run of two great outings. Against his former team, Mrazek has a chance to continue building a rhythm. I will be watching to see if he can continue on his current positive path.
3) Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho
It is subtle, but notice the order. Andrei Svechnikov comes in riding consecutive two-goal games and having created a league-wide buzz with his lacrosse goal on Tuesday. I will be watching to see Svechnikov can continue his current surge. If he jumps from ‘figuring it out as a talented rookie’ in 2018-19 straight to elite in 2019-20, the path to scoring enough goals becomes much easier for the Hurricanes. It is far too early to make any final declarations on the 2019-20 season or Svechnikov’s progress, but he undoubtedly is worth watching right now to see where his 2019-20 season goes.
The puck drops at 7:37pm at PNC Arena.