Canes fans who attended (or watched on television) Friday’s game against the Washington Capitals encountered yet another variety of disappointing. After storming out to a 4-1 lead early in the second period, Canes fans then had to witness the team give up three goals before the period was up to blow the lead and then a disheartening overtime and shootout before losing. As I said in my game recap, picking up a point against the Stanley Cup champions is actually not a horrible outcome, but the context around it makes it feel so.
Next up is a Sunday matinee against the Arizona Coyotes. After three consecutive losses this week to start a home-heavy stretch of schedule, the Hurricanes enter the game really just needing any kind of win.
My watch points for Sunday’s game follow…
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Arizona Coyotes
1) More of the same in the first period
After consecutive lackluster first periods in losses, the Hurricanes successfully found the ignition switch when the puck dropped for the opening face-off on Friday. That part of Friday’s game is definitely worth keeping. With the odd start time and the current negative trend, I will be watching on Sunday to see if the Hurricanes can muster another strong start to get off on the right foot.
2) Young leadership
Despite the outcome, Sebastian Aho had a huge game on Friday with four points. Jaccob Slavin also played incredibly well. The team needs leadership and strong efforts from many, but I think the next leg up will be led by the young guns. On Sunday, I will be watching to see if these young players can pick up where they left off on Friday and lead the team to a win.
3) Special teams
The penalty kill continues to be a strength after a slow start to the 2018-19 season. The power play has been sporadic but is coming off a huge three-goal effort on Friday. Can special teams again be an advantage that can help overcome a sometimes lack of even strength fire power?
As noted above, Sunday’s game is a 1pm start at PNC Arena, so plan on lunch and hockey together.