For those who have been away from Canes and Coffee and/or Twitter for the past day or so, we are pulling together an informal group to watch the Canes vs. Isles at Bond Brothers Beer in Cary. Nothing (except possibly coffee) pairs better with Hurricanes hockey than local craft beer. Consider this your invitation to join us.
Riding a solid five-game point streak, the Carolina Hurricanes kick off another busy set of three games in four days with a game against a division foe in the New York Islanders.
November is too early to pinpoint any single game as ‘pivotal’, but this is clearly the kind of game that the Hurricanes need to win at a decent clip to push into the playoffs. My adjusted cut line for the Eastern Conference has the Hurricanes tied for the eighth playoff spot at plus 2 games above .500 and the Islanders just above at plus 3 games above .500. A win pushes the Hurricanes up to the next level. A loss pushes them slightly below the cut line.
In terms of sheer entertainment, the game has great potential. The Hurricanes/Islanders season series wrapped with a couple normal-ish games with 3-2 and 3-0 scores. But prior to that, the two teams played a few really wild ones with the Hurricanes winning the first three games 7-4, 5-4 and 8-4 for a total of 20 Hurricanes goals in only three games.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Islanders
1) The ability to pounce early
The Islanders again lean offense at 4th in the league in goal scoring but only 21st in the league in terms of preventing goals. The Hurricanes have had a knack for pouncing on skating and scoring teams early (Edmonton and Toronto) and then scoring opportunistically after that to gain a high-scoring win. With a couple days off and fresh legs, I will be watching to see if the Hurricanes can push the pace and attack early and possibly also see a carry over from a big period offensively on Monday.
2) John Tavares’ line
John Tavares is off and running early with 13 goals that put him tied for second in the entire NHL in that category. On the road, I would expect the Isles to try to pick match ups a bit for Tavares and possibly steer around Slavin/Pesce. If so and also if Fleury stays in the second pairing next to Faulk, the game could represent a measuring stick for just how ready he is to be an every game/every situation top 4 defenseman.
3) A carry over from Teuvo Teravainen and the TSA line
With a rapid rapid fire goal scoring outburst on Monday, I will be watching to see if Teravainen can carry momentum forward into the weekend. Teravainen suddenly has 13 points in 16 games, but split of 11 points in 4 games and 2 points in the other 12 shows him to be a player who scores in quick bursts but has yet to find the consistency to be a difference-maker on a frequent basis. Can Teravainen and his line mates Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal who all played a part in each of the line’s four goals on Monday carry their strong play in the busy weekend?
The puck drops at about 7pm on Fox Sports Carolinas and at Bond Brothers in Cary for those who can make it.