After a lackluster home effort on Saturday carried over into the first period of Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles, the Canes rebounded, played two better periods and squeaked out a win with a single goal not counting an empty-netter in the waning seconds.
Without much time for California sightseeing , the Hurricanes are right back at it on Wednesday night against former Canes forward Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks. After struggling to an 0-4 start, the Sharks seemed to get a boost after signing Marleau and have now won two straight since the addition.
On the Hurricanes side of the ledger, Tuesday’s win was a good one to cut short any possible losing streak after a strong start and a single loss. For as much as the 6-1 record is impressive, I think the 2019-20 Hurricanes are still very much a work in process. My watch points for Wednesday’s game reflect some of that work.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Carolina Hurricanes versus the San Jose Sharks
1) A better start
The Hurricanes struggled mightily in their first period on the West Coast on Tuesday night. If not for Petr Mrazek and some near misses by the Kings, the Hurricanes could have been down two or three goals early and tracking toward a very different result. On Wednesday, I will be watching closely to see if the team can find a higher gear out of the gate or if not if someone can help spark the team sooner.
2) Sebastian Aho and Nino Niederreiter
As Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour has suggested, it is not only about scoring. In that regard, Sebastian Aho had one of his better games of the year, and I also thought Niederreiter’s game was okay. And Aho did actually pick up a goal on an empty-netter that buddy Teuvo Teravainen somehow shot off him and into the net to help him out. But at the end of the day, players like Aho and Niederreiter need to both ‘do the small things’ and score for the team to be successful. As such, that will continue to be a watch point until the duo gets going.
The third line was probably the team’s best on Tuesday scoring the only non-empty-net goal and in general being dangerous all night. On Wednesday, I will be watching to see if they can possibly carry the load offensively while the team waits for Aho’s line to hit the score sheet.
The puck drops at a late 10:30pm Eastern Time again on Fox Sports Carolinas with John, Tripp and Mike.