After an emotional Saturday for the home finale and more importantly what preceded it, the team hits the road for game #82 to close out the Carolina Hurricanes schedule for the 2016-17 season.
If you were away from Canes hockey on Saturday and missed the special day surrounding Bryan Bickell, I highly recommend that you use yesterday’s game recap as a starting point to find coverage of the day’s events.
About a week ago, the Hurricanes were on their way to a significantly-improved 2016-17 season, but with a 5-game losing streak heading into Sunday, the Hurricanes sit at 85 points. That is 1 point shy of what the team achieved in 2015-16, so it now takes a win to improve at least in terms of points earned.
Both the Flyers and Hurricanes had their runs during the season but in the end fell short of making the playoffs. The Flyers surged to a huge winning streak during the front part of winter and sat firmly in a wild card slot only a couple of months ago. The Hurricanes dug their traditional early season hole and played their best hockey during a magical 13-game point streak in the second half of March. But when the final horn blows on Sunday night in Philadelphia, both teams will head into the off-season and begin work to do better in 2017-18.
‘What I’m watching’ for the Hurricanes versus the Philadelphia Flyers
1) Sergey Tolchinsky
He will get his second game to make an impression that carries forward to training camp next fall. On Saturday, he picked up a pretty/heady assist on Saturday in only 9:08 of ice time and will be looking to build on that. I will be watching for Tolchinsky’s ability to generate offense but also his ability to handle the other parts of the game.
2) Chasing milestones
–Jeff Skinner needs only 1 point to set a career high. A hat trick would push him to 40 goals which is a huge number in today’s NHL.
–Sebastian Aho who did everything but pick up points on Saturday needs 2 points to get to 50.
–A herculean effort and a hat trick by Justin Faulk would give him 20 on the season.
You heard it here first, Skinner and Faulk both net hatties in a 7-3 win making those who checked out a game early regret it. 🙂
3) NHL draft ranking
In terms of moving up a couple notches in the draft lottery and the draft in general, Saturday was a success. Winnipeg won. Coupled with the Canes shootout loss, the Jets officially passed the Canes. The Flyers won too which means that it would take a regulation win (overtime will not do it) by the Canes to pass the Flyers. The Canes also enter Sunday tied with the Kings and at a disadvantage in terms of the tiebreaker, so if the Canes pick up the same or fewer points than the Kings, the Canes will bump up another spot.
#9 — If Canes either lose or win in overtime and the Kings at least match the Canes on Sunday.
#10 — A: If Canes win in regulation and Kings also win (regulation or overtime). B: If Canes win in overtime and Kings also win (regulation or overtime). C: If Canes lose in overtime and Kings either win or lose in overtime.
#11 — If Canes win in regulation and Kings lose (regulation or overtime).
4) Bryan Bickell’s final game
Sunday’s event should be a little bit quieter than Saturday’s, but I will still be watching closely, wishing him the best and screaming at my television every time he finds the puck on his stick with a chance to score a goal in his last game.
The puck drops at about 7pm on Fox Sports Carolinas with John, Tripp and Mike.