On Saturday night at PNC Arena, the Carolina Hurricanes will look to cap off another fun hockey weekend with two home wins and also close out what could be considered a first phase of the 2019-20 NHL season at a perfect 6-0. Next week, the Hurricanes head out west for three games away for the NC State Fair, so it would be nice to tack on one more win to the tremendous start.
The opponent is another divisional foe in the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus is off to a slow 1-3 start and still trying to finds its way after the departure of long-time stars Sergey Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin and also trade deadline acquisition Matt Duchene. Not knowing what the rest of the season holds, idea would be to help a team like Columbus not gain its footing and instead move quickly into the building for next year category for the 2019-20 season.
On the Hurricanes side of the ledger, it is not about match ups or the opponent. It is about continuing to ride an early season rhythm to as many wins as possible. That simply requires doing the same thing again.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the Columbus Blue Jackets
1) Continuation with no let up
No doubt, the Hurricanes are the better team right now, but in the NHL results are decided each and every night by what happens on the ice not what happened prior. Friday’s win over the Isles featured arguably the most consistent effort of the season. The key is not to let up but instead to keep pushing at that same aggressive pace.
2) Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter
The duo that has been struggling to find the net so far had its best game of the season and could easily have netted a goal. Niederreiter had 4-5 great chances and could easily have had at least one goal. And Friday also featured the buzzing version of Sebastian Aho that is his most productive version. While I think the degree of concern for their quiet start is minimal, it would still be nice to see them finally break through for a huge game.
3) The blue line juggernaut
By far the biggest story in the Canes stellar start has been the play of the blue line. After significant turnover trading out Justin Faulk and Calvin de Haan and adding Joel Edmundson and Jake Gardiner, the group is firing on all cylinders right out of the gate. Friday’s win featured two more goals and a primary assist on a pretty passing play off the rush by Hamilton. Game in and game out the Carolina Hurricanes blue line continues to be the engine that drives the train of the the NHL’s best team early in the season. And that is worth the price of admission right now.
The puck drops at 7:07pm at PNC Arena. The team is away for two weeks for the State Fair after tonight, so if you do not have a ticket yet, find one.