On the schedule for Monday night is Dallas at Carolina in what some might figure to be a big NFL game. But it is actually a rare Canes Monday night game in the fall.
The game features a rematch from a couple weeks back in Dallas. That game saw the Stars pounce on the Hurricanes early and often and nearly run away with the game. Admirably, the Hurricanes surged in the third period and made a game of it late, but the hole dug early in the game was too much to overcome and the Canes came away empty that night.
The story of the night was the Benn/Seguin/Radulov line creating scoring chances in bunches during the front part of the game and ultimately scoring two goals. On home ice, the Hurricanes will get a chance to avenge the loss in Dallas, and Bill Peters will have last change to try to neutralize Dallas’ top scoring line.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Dallas Stars
1) The Hurricanes versus Benn/Seguin/Radulov
On home ice, Peters will be able to match up against Dallas’ top line. Important to note, is that the Stars did not steer their top line away from Slavin/Pesce. Quite the opposite actually – Slavin/Pesce had a tough night defending them. But at home Peters will have a greater ability to match them with a set of five likely to include Slavin/Pesce with either Staal or Kruger’s line.
On Monday, I will be watching how Peters elects to defend Dallas’ top line. I will also be watching to see if Slavin/Pesce can rise to the occasion and stymie Dallas’ scoring trio like they have other top lines over the past year plus and to see if Jaccob Slavin can rebound after a rare ‘meh’ game against Chicago on Saturday.
2) The special teams battle
Dallas enters the game with the league’s top-ranked power play and the third best penalty kill. The Hurricanes enter at the other end of the spectrum at least for the power play. The Hurricanes power play comes in at 29th and the penalty kill at 15th. In a league where the difference is quite often a single goal, I will be watching to see how the special teams battle plays out. Even more significantly, after Bill Peters alluded to personnel changes on the power play, I will be watching closely to see what changes there are in terms of both personnel and tactics as the power play tries to break out of an extended funk.
3) Offense in what could be a skating game
The Hurricanes have generally fared well against other teams that are willing to open things up a bit, push pace up and down the ice and trade chances. The game has the potential to be a fast and exciting one. I will be watching to see how the game unfolds. On the one hand, the Hurricanes have fared well in a couple wide open games against Edmonton and Toronto. On the other hand, the Hurricanes’ formula of late has leaned more heavily on its defense and goaltending. Can the Hurricanes both opportunistically attack and at the same time be strong defensively?
The puck drops at 7:07pm at PNC Arena.