After a couple days away from hockey for the holiday break after a horrid loss on Monday afternoon in Toronto, the Carolina Hurricanes face a stiff challenge in aiming for a quick rebound. On Friday, the Hurricanes head to Madison Square Garden which has generally been unkind and also likely face Henrik Lundqvist, who has also been unkind.
It is often said that every two points counts the same, but over the course of a long NHL season, there are games that mean more. This game is one of them. After battling back from a three-goal deficit to build a two-goal lead only to give up five goals in a catastrophic third period loss, Friday’s game is very clearly a response type of game that will show the team’s mettle.
With that extra drama, my watch points for Friday’s game follow.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Rangers
1) Timid or fiery?
After Monday’s debacle, my first watch point will be to see how the Hurricanes react. Does the team come out with a bit of self-doubt and hesitancy trying to play their way back up to speed? Or does the team come out with a bee in their bonnet aiming to expel a bit of pent up frustration and get back in the win column?
Related to my first watch point, this game will also be a measuring point for the team’s leadership in the face of a bit of adversity. The leadership group starts with Jordan Staal, but this game is also about a broader group of top players rising up to make a statement. On Friday, I will be watching to see if they can do exactly that.
With Lundqvist and the jinx that seems to come with Madison Square Garden, one would expect that the Canes goalie will need to stand tall especially early to help the team build confidence and play their way into the game. This game is an especially important one for the goalie position that has generally been a strength of late.
The puck drops at 7:00pm on Fox Sports Carolinas with John, Tripp and Mike.