After an impressive road win against the Washington Capitals on Friday night, the Carolina Hurricanes return home to face a New York Rangers team that also played and traveled on Friday night in a match up of two teams building toward the 2018-19 season.
The Rangers have done an admirable job of tanking in the second half of March with only one win and a 1-4-2 mark in their past seven games. At least recently, the Hurricanes have regained their footing and won four out of five games.
But even with the recent burst of wins, the Hurricanes are very much a team focused on building for next year which is the focus of my watch points for Saturday’s game.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the New York Rangers
1) Sebastian Aho’s day
I misspoke in my game preview for Saturday in saying that Sebastian Aho would be featured in Friday’s television broadcast. That is in fact Saturday night, so if you are attending the game or otherwise occupied, you might want to DVR the game to indulge in a bit more Sebastian Aho goodness before the 2017-18 season rides off into the sunset.
In addition to being a television star on Saturday, the game also has the potential to see him reach 30 goals if he can net two to get from 28 to 30 in a hurry.
* Iso cam at all times on Aho, who will be mic'd up
* Sit-down interview
* Off-the-ice feature
* All in-game reports and teleprompter analysis
* Intermission interviews with linemates
— Mike Sundheim (@MikeSundheim) March 29, 2018
2) The rest of Aho’s squad
While Sebastian Aho might be the headliner especially on Saturday, his line mates have also been good of late. Now six games into his NHL audition, Valentin Zykov has three goals and three assists and has scored in four of those six games. Teuvo Teravainen also continues to be productive in a Robin role to Aho’s Batman. The trio is arguably the best thing going right now in terms of fun watch points for the rest of the 2017-18 season.
3) Haydn Fleury!
I’m calling it. After 62 games at the NHL level without a goal, I am going out on a limb and predicting that Haydn Fleury will notch his first NHL goal on Saturday. I am so confident in this prediction that I will be be picking up celebratory ice cream on Saturday, so I am prepared for a jubilant post-game celebration.
The puck drops at 7:07pm at PNC Arena.