For the third straight week, the Carolina Hurricanes will enter the last game of the week win-less and seeking to salvage something from a minus week in the standings.
My ‘games above .500’ math has the Canes seven points out of a playoff spot (It is nine if you just look at simple totals.), and again teetering on the brink of early playoff extinction.
Adding to everything else swirling around this team right now is Whalers night that brings a massive extra charge ranging from those who are glad it finally happened to those who completely despise this event to those like myself whose Hurricanes fandom does not reach back to the Whalers days, so I mostly just feel like staying out of the way of the controversy.
On the ice, the Hurricanes just desperately need any kind of win to get back on the right track. The goaltending that has sunk the team in recent years has actually been holding up its end of the bargain. The losses are due to a carry over from just seemingly too often finding different ways to do so combined a dose of inability to put the puck in the net.
A win would make the three-day break a bit better, but regardless I feel like this team needs a break and a chance to reset.
My watch points for Sunday are:
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes/Whalers versus the Boston Bruins
1) Someone to step up
Times like these are when new generations are forged. Is there a player or two on this team who can rise above adversity and lead the way forward to a better place? If the current roster holds such a player, there is no better time for this group to step up.
Perhaps the biggest concern right now is the team’s return to fragile. They have played pretty good first period hockey in a number of recent losses but not been rewarded. As soon as that lack of reward has turned into a deficit, the team has sagged and seemingly accepted its fate. Even if it is unsuccessful, this team needs to be able to muster a ‘we must find a way’ attitude/mentality. Especially if the Hurricanes find themselves down in Sunday’s game, I will be watching to see if they push back or whimper away.
It is becoming increasingly clear that shots on goal, chances and other metrics do not automatically convert to goals. On Saturday, the team had a handful of breakaways and also a decent volume of medium to high grade scoring chances. Too much are shot right into the middle of the goalie or over the top of the net. On Sunday, I will be watching to see if the Canes can losen the grip on the stick and bury a shot or two.
The pucks drops at about 5:07pm at PNC Arena.