What a time to be alive as a Canes fan. Hot on the heels of a tremendous 2019 NHL playoff run, the team just keeps serving up more goodness early in the 2019-20 season. The Storm Surge is back. Chicken sandwiches are free after seemingly every home game. And it is just fun time to be Canes fan.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes seek to finish off a quick four-game home stand with four wins. And the opponent is another beatable team in the New Jersey Devils who are still trying to find the ignition switch for the 2019-20 season.
But more than match ups, the Hurricanes just riding a good vibe right now. No doubt the team is playing well and earning its results, but there is also an element of everything just falling their way with officials challenges, caroms and whatever else it takes to pull out another W.
Toss in tremendous fall weather for tailgating on a Saturday afternoon, and it is high time to be part of the Caniac Nation.
My watch points for today’s game follow.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Detroit Red Wings
1) Back to a more repeatable formula
The Red Wings arrived looking to play shinny and then opened things up even more once they were behind. The new look Hurricanes that suddenly seem to be full of goal scorers capitalized on opportunities and sprinted to a wild win. The team did manage to tighten thing up a bit in the third period, but in total Friday’s game was wide open. There is nothing wrong with winning any way possible. And there is nothing wrong with winning fun games with a bunch of scoring. But longer-term, the team will need to dial up its defensive play a bit going forward. On Saturday, I will be watching to see if the team takes a step in that direction.
2) But also just scoring in bunches too
At the same time, the team’s ability to score goals in bunches right now is impressive. That capability increases the margin for error in being able to win imperfect games and also decreases pressure on the goalies. Sebastian Aho joined the fun with two goals, and Nino Niederreiter had one too on Friday. If the Hurricanes can get a couple more players contributing, crazy at it sounds there is still upside for this team. On Saturday, I will be watching to see if the Hurricanes can keep finishing at a high rate.
3) James Reimer
After a layoff, I would expect to see James Reimer return to the net tonight. He was ‘meh’ in his last couple starts and is also coming off an extended break. Ideal would be for the team to tighten things up a bit defensively to help him settle into the game and post a strong outing. Especially early in Saturday’s game I will be watching to see how Reimer looks.
4) Attacking mentality again
Though the formula might not be ideal, the Hurricanes did show an attacking mentality in the second period. When Detroit presented openings, the Hurricanes capitalized in droves. Against another team that is struggling early in the 2019-20 season, I will be watching to see if the Hurricanes can again be the aggressor.
The puck drops at 7:07pm at PNC Arena.